This week in Travel and Tourism – 4/9/12

DOMESTIC

Atlantic City, N.J., group plans $20M campaign to draw tourists

Nonprofit group Atlantic City Alliance is launching a $20 million marketing campaign aimed at promoting the New Jersey city’s nongaming tourist attractions to leisure travelers. Carrying the tagline “Do Anything. Do Everything,” the initiative will include advertisements in major cities. “We have to reposition Atlantic City as a tourism destination,” said Liza Cartmell, president of the alliance.

Delta breaks ground on $160M LaGuardia hub makeover

Delta Air Lines Inc. broke ground Wednesday on a $160 million renovation and expansion of its hub at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The project includes a 630-foot connector bridge linking Terminals C and D, a new Delta Sky Club in Terminal C and expanded security lanes in both terminals.

INTERNATIONAL

Mexico tourism officials report recovery

Mexico has taken a beating over the past several years, ever since the triple whammy of drug violence, the H1N1 flu scare and a prolonged recession that curtailed travel in the countries that supply the bulk of its tourism. But if the Tianguis Turistico at the end of March is any indication, the country’s tourism industry has bounced back in a big way.

AIRLINE

Allegiant Air to Start Hawaii Flights

The ultradiscount-airline business is spreading to the lucrative market of Hawaii, as Allegiant Air plans to start low-cost service to Honolulu from Las Vegas and Fresno, Calif. Parent company Allegiant Travel Co., which focuses on selling vacation packages along with its cut-rate airfares, is entering one of the nation’s biggest vacation destinations after two years of planning.

Pinnacle’s plan: Smaller operation would fly for Delta Air Lines only

Former managers of Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines Inc. spent four years expanding and diversifying it into a $1 billion regional airline holding company. Through Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings this week in New York, their successors seek to roll back the clock and return to serving a single master, Delta Air Lines.

OTA

IBM research: OTAs, suppliers are misreading buyers’ values

Growing consumer dissatisfaction with online travel agencies (OTAs) and suppliers’ websites offers traditional agents and agencies an opportunity to pick up market share, according to a recent IBM report. In an executive report titled “Travel 2020: The Distribution Dilemma,” IBM researchers said that fewer than half of leisure and business travelers believe they’re getting a fair value for their travel dollar when they book online.

CRUISE

Carnival introduces George Lopez-branded comedy club

The Carnival Miracle launched year-round Caribbean sailings from New York on Thursday, offering several new dining and entertainment options for Carnival Cruise Lines. Making its Carnival debut is the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez. The comedian serves as Carnival’s “curator of comedy,” acting as a consultant on the hiring of comedians.

ETC.

Pinterest draws attention of agents, suppliers

More members of the travel industry are looking at the new social media tool Pinterest and recognizing its potential for marketing, this feature says. “The advantage Pinterest has is simple: pictures,” said Meghan Peters of social media news website Mashable.com. “Its photocentric design appeals to even the most casual social media user. … The site has quickly struck a chord with a mainstream audience, a difficult feat for a new social network.”

Free Wi-Fi is most desired amenity, survey says

Note to hotel owners: Americans really like free Wi-Fi. The most important amenity for prospective U.S. hotel guests is free wireless Internet access, Expedia’s Hotels.com division said, citing its survey of prospective U.S. travelers. Of those polled, 38% said free Wi-Fi was “a must when choosing hotel accommodations.” By comparison, 25% of those surveyed said free breakfast was essential, while 18% chose free parking as the most desired amenity. Room service came in at just 2%.

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