Blog Archive

Monday, May 1, 2023

India is Open, Brexit damages Tourism, Changi Wows!

India overtakes the UK as fifth largest economy in the world

Ten years ago, India was the world’s 11th largest economy. Today it is the 5th largest, now bigger than the UK's. With 6.1% growth predicted for 2023 – the fastest growth rate in the world – and 6.8% in 2024, it is also likely to become the 4th largest economy in the world by 2027 according to the IMF. India has a young and dynamic population, is relatively democratic and has huge potential.

Latest IMF Growth Forecasts

Apple Opens in India

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has launched the company's first retail store in India in the financial capital Mumbai.

Tim Cook opens India's first Apple Store in Mumbai

I find it highly symbolic. Apple sells expensive premium products and the fact that it opened two stores in India last month shows the progress that has been made there. Apple's research must have shown that there are sufficient customers for the high end products and services Apple provides in this previously poor country.

It is also highly likely that Apple will be moving more of its manufacturing to India which is considered a good value and politically friendly democracy, in order to reduce its huge reliance on China.

Furthermore, the British coffee and sandwich chain Pret A Manger also opened its first Indian store in Mumbai on Friday April 21st in partnership with Reliance Industries. They have removed their cheddar and pickle baguette from the menu but serve a few local flavours such as the Bombay Toastie and a spicy paneer and lima bean soup!

We should not underestimate the significance and symbolism of this simple store opening for the world. India is coming. Watch this space! 

Brexit causes Travel Hell at Dover: Brits can't get out!

But the government continues to deny that the the additional Brexit passport checks and stamps are causing the massive queues.

“We want the UK to be like Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela.” I don’t imagine the team negotiating Brexit on our behalf used that exact phrase. But it is what they achieved.

After leaving the European Union, the UK aligned with Latin America and dozens of other nations on access to the EU. We voted to be treated as “third-country nationals”: citizens who do not need visas for visiting Europe, but who must comply with tricky rules on passport validity, length of stay and means of financial support – together with proof of departure after a short visit. And in a retro nod to the golden days of international travel, we arranged to have every passport stamped on the way in and out of the EU.

Many passengers waited 12 hours or more to be checked by French frontier officials before boarding ferries to France.

The Home Secretary pinned the blame on too many travellers and bad weather. Suella Braverman discounted Brexit because, she said, the UK left the EU “many years ago”. Yet from a border perspective, the rules changed at the start of 2021.

Simon Calder, The Independent April 7th 2023

French and German tourists turn their back on Brexit Britain: French can't get in!

From The Guardian 08/04/2023

"French and German tourists are beginning to avoid the UK, tourism leaders fear, because of post-Brexit restrictions on travelling with identity cards.

The number of passenger vehicles transported by Le Shuttle through the Channel tunnel in the first two months of 2023 dropped to 251,175, compared with 314,497 in 2019. Brittany Ferries said in December that it had 155,000 arrivals in 2022 compared with 338,000 in 2019.

School groups are particularly badly affected because if one or two children in a class of 30 do not have passports, teachers will elect to travel to Ireland or Malta for English language trips instead. Children with non-EU passports, such as refugees, will also need a £95 visa to enter the UK.

Research by the Tourism Alliance last year found there had been an 83% drop in schoolchildren and students visiting the UK, leading to a loss of £875m and 14,500 jobs."

Strike LONDON from that poster

Another perhaps unsurprising tourism casualty is the Orient Express which has announced that it will axe its UK section after 41 years due to Brexit. The train will no longer depart from London Victoria; customers will need to travel to Paris to board. The additional customs requirements at Dover/Calais have increased logistics and costs making the route unviable. "Belmond, the company that runs today’s Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE), has decided to drop the London-to-Folkestone leg of the route because it has become too difficult to cross the border to Calais." The Guardian April 15th 2023

Agatha Christie would be aghast!

The World's Best Airport

Changi Airport, Singapore

Changi has again been voted the world's best airport. Not hard to see why. How many others can compete with the world's largest indoor fountain that stuns with a 'son and lumière' show every evening?  It's called the HSBC Rain Vortex. Oh and then you have the butterfly garden, the suspended trampoline you can bounce on to the sky, the cactus garden, the arrival 'dragonfly' garden, the world's first mirror maze and dozens more breathtaking attractions. And that's before you get to the shops, restaurants and all the airport's commercial elements. 

No wonder the airport has become a destination for people who aren't flying anywhere!

Quote for the Month

"Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lives, their propaganda is marked by extreme contempt for fact as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it"  Hannah Arendt, 1968, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Hannah Arendt was able to flee occupied France thanks to the help of Varian Fry and his team who secured false papers and safe passage for her and over 2,000 others. She was one of the most influential political theorists of the 20th century. Netflix have just released 'Transatlantic' a 7 episode series filmed in Marseille, which is influenced by the work of Fry and his team in 1940-41.

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