Bristol balloon breaking world records and showing the world we are open for business

Issue date: 07 April 2017

The world record attempt for the largest number of balloons to cross the English Channel at once has been broken today (Friday 7 April). At 06.10 am the skies above Dover were filled with 82 colourful balloons, as the fleet began its journey across one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

The Bristol Balloon owned by Business West, UWE Bristol and Destination Bristol joined the record balloon flight conveying the message that Bristol is still very much open for business with Europe.

The world record breaking attempt across the channel was timely and links well with the good news for the South West in HMRC's latest stats. These show that South West exports of goods to the EU increased between 2015 and 2016 by 7.7% from £8.3 billion to £8.9 billion.

James Monk, International Trade Director at Business West said:

“Our pilot Derek Maltby approached us a few months ago wanting to be involved with a chance to break the world record and it was just too tempting an opportunity to miss.

“The South West of England is a renowned region globally for its quality food and drink produce, and chocolate, cider, cheese, tea, fudge and a range of ales were just a few of the products that we took to France in a luxury hamper.

“Interestingly HMRC's stats for March 2017 show that exports to the South West's third largest export market, France, increased by 24.5% from £1.6 billion in 2015 to £2.0 billion in 2016. So it was highly appropriate that our hamper of South West goodies was handed over to the French owners of the field that the balloon landed in.

Keith Hicks, spokesperson for UWE Bristol said:

“In addition to exports, higher education continues to be attractive to our European neighbours with the number of EU students applying to UWE Bristol currently up 6% against a national UK decline of - 7%.

“We were delighted to be supporting the record balloon flight over the English Channel. This region has benefitted from the university's strong connections with Europe and we are keen to maintain these."

John Hirst, Chief Executive of Destination Bristol said:

“Congratulations from everyone at Destination Bristol to Derek Maltby and his team, a great achievement! This will help us to further promote Bristol on the international stage and encourage even more people to visit - especially bearing in mind our great ballooning reputation.”

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