Monthly Archives: June 2012

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 6/18/2012


U.S. hotels see dwindling European bookings this year

European tourists to the U.S. are declining as Europe’s difficulties intensify, with the U.S. hotel industry feeling the effect. Travelers from European countries booked 1.1% fewer rooms in the U.S. in the first five months of the year compared with the same period in 2011, Pegasus Solutions reports. In the first five months of 2011, hotel bookings by Europeans increased 13.7% compared with year-earlier figures, the reservation processor says.

Report: U.S. tourism industry will bounce back by 2017

Research firm IBISWorld predicts that the U.S. tourism industry will enjoy moderate revenue growth over the next five years, brought about by an increase in travel from East Asia and South America. IBISWorld says in the report that it expects the industry’s revenue to grow to $1.4 trillion from 2011 to 2012.


Brand USA chief departs

Brand USA, the public-private partnership formed to promote international travel to the U.S., said Thursday that CEO Jim Evans stepped down after one year on the job.

Number of July Fourth weekend travelers will reach 42.3 million, AAA says

Lower gas prices and July Fourth falling on a Wednesday will contribute to a record rise in travel volume during this year’s Independence Day weekend, which is projected to reach 42.3 million, AAA reports. “This is the second holiday this year where travelers indicated a determination to travel while economizing by actively seeking value-added travel options and activities,” said Bill Sutherland of AAA Travel Services.


Luxury cruise lines crack down on agents who rebate onboard

Crystal Cruises last week became the latest luxury line to shore up its anti-rebating efforts, with a new policy aimed at reducing onboard solicitation of cruise clients and discouraging passengers from shopping their future bookings while onboard.


Guerneville, Calif., offers haven for LGBT community, nature lovers

Several hiking trails and the wide expanse of the Russian River in Guerneville, Calif., offer plenty of adventures and natural sights for visitors. The laid-back town also touts its status as “a hate-free community,” offering a warm welcome to families and gay couples alike, this feature says.


Hoteliers are tweaking amenities to cater to Chinese travelers

The massive influx of Chinese leisure travelers into the U.S. has prompted many hotels to align their amenities toward meeting these visitors’ cultural preferences, this feature says. From serving authentic Chinese cuisine to employing Mandarin-speaking front-desk staff, hotels continue to adapt their operations in a bid to capture the growing demand.

Senator introduces bill of rights for airline passengers

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill of rights for air travelers, as well as a bill that would require private workers to replace the Transportation Security Administration. “While aviation security is undoubtedly important, we must be diligent in protecting the rights of all Americans, such as their freedom from being subjected to humiliating and intrusive searches by TSA agents, especially when there is no obvious cause,” said Paul in a statement.

This Week in Travel & Tourism – 6/11/2012


EU emissions dispute could lead to higher airfares, official says

International airfares could rise if countries opposed to a planned expansion of the European Union’s emissions-trading scheme make good on their promise to retaliate, this feature says. Retaliatory measures could include reductions in flight frequency, banning EU airlines from the airspace of opposing countries and imposing fees on EU carriers that use airports in opposing countries.


United follows Delta in raising baggage fee

United Airlines has raised its fee for a second checked bag on trans-Atlantic flights to $100 from $70. Delta Air Lines announced a similar increase in January to $100 from $75, or to $80 with online check-in. An industry analyst notes that the price increase comes in the face of falling fuel prices and a tenuous outlook for the European Union’s economy. United, however, attributes the fee change to “an increase in costs associated with carrying bags, such as fuel and handling.”


Norwegian cruise sale bases savings on state residency

Norwegian Cruise Line has introduced a cruise sale promo that offers savings for passengers based on the state in which they live. Passengers who book between now and Sunday can save up to $1,000 for cruises to destinations such as Hawaii, the Bahamas and Alaska.

Scenic Cruises unveils all-inclusive river sailings for 2013

Scenic Cruises is touting the “first truly all-inclusive luxury river cruising experience” it will provide in its 2013 schedule for Europe river cruises. The itineraries include new shore activities and dining options for passengers, who will get free Wi-Fi, beverages, private butler service and themed dinners.


Tourico Holidays implements AA’s direct connect

Online travel wholesaler Tourico Holidays said it is using American Airlines’ direct connect to book the airline’s fares and ancillary products.

Carnival overhauls loyalty program

Carnival Cruise Lines revamped and rebranded its loyalty program into a five-tier structure called the Very Important Fun Person Club, or VIFP. The new categories are based on the number of cruise days sailed, rather than the previous number of cruises.


The Changing Face of All-Inclusives

Wave goodbye to your grandmother’s all-inclusives. The concept that once just meant a buffet along with a bed now encompasses just about anything a client desires on a vacation.

This week in Travel & Tourism — 6/4/12


Orlando, Fla., reports receiving 55.1M visitors in 2011

Visitor numbers in Orlando, Fla., climbed 7.2% in 2011 from the previous year, reaching a new record of 55.1 million visitors, tourism group Visit Orlando says. Using data from the U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries and D.K. Shifflet & Associates, the group reported that international visits numbered 3.8 million, while domestic visitation reached 51.3 million, rising 7.5% from figures in 2010.


Acapulco fights image woes as it seeks return to glory

Acapulco and Mazatlan, two Pacific coast resort cities whose images have been tarnished by Mexico’s drug wars, are on the offensive, fighting back with strong promotional campaigns, tourist-centered festivals and events and enhanced security measures in efforts to change overall visitor perceptions of the destinations.


Airlines expand basic- and premium economy classes of service

Delta Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines are instituting two levels of economy-class service. Basic-economy service will be a no-frills experience for passengers looking to spend less, and premium-economy service will offer extra perks such as more seat room and early boarding. “Our expansion of Economy Comfort gives customers more premium seats to choose from no matter where they fly on Delta,” said Glen Hauenstein, a Delta executive vice president.

Southwest Airlines will launch new routes this year

Southwest Airlines plans to launch new routes in November and take over some routes flown by AirTran Airways. Southwest acquired AirTran last year, and eventually plans to absorb all AirTran flights into the Southwest brand. However, Southwest does not plan to add service in Memphis, Tenn., this year.

Air Canada will continue with plan for low-cost carrier

Calin Rovinescu, the CEO of Air Canada, says the airline is planning to launch a low-cost carrier. “I have said repeatedly that we need to participate in this segment of the market in one manner or another. And to this end, we are evaluating various low-cost business models,” he said.


Aeromexico Vacations bumps hotel pay to 15%

Aeromexico Vacations is offering 15% commission on all land components when agents book air-hotel packages to Mexico, Central and South America. The 15% commission has no end date and is in effect for at least two months, according to MLT Vacations, operatot of Aeromexico Vacations.

Top 4 agencies dominate the travel-agent market, study shows

Research group IBISWorld has reported that more than 75% of the global travel-agency market belongs to the four largest industry groups: American Express, Carlson Cos., Expedia and “However, there are still opportunities for smaller and niche operators at the regional and local city/town level,” IBISWorld said. The group also predict that rising consumer spending will boost travel-agency revenue by 3.1% at an annualized rate over the next five years.


River and ocean cruise lines for cross-marketing pact

In what appears to be an industry first, river cruise line Ama Waterways and ocean cruise line Crystal Cruises have formed a cross-marketing partnership. Each cruise line developed an exclusive offer that was emailed to past passengers with an introduction from the other brand.

Norwegian to buy cruise ship from shareholder

Norwegian Cruise Line has signed a memorandum of agreement to exercise its option to purchase the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Sky. The line has operated the Norwegian Sky under a bareboat charter with a purchase option from Ample Avenue, a subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong Limited, a 50% owner of Norwegian Cruise Line.


Travelocity fights to regain market share

Travelocity, when it emerged from Sabre in 1996, pioneered the online travel agency (OTA) space. But in the 16 years since, it has fallen sharply behind its competitors in terms of online traffic. Presumably, it has also fallen behind in revenue, though as one of the four major OTAs that is not public, it does not disclose its financial results.


Airlines investing in entertainment, not roomier seats

As more airlines continue to shrink seat width and leg room, they are investing in lighter-weight and more comprehensive in-flight entertainment technologies. Mary Kirby, editor of Airline Passenger Experience magazine, explains the rationale behind these moves: “It’s of more value for an airline to add two rows worth of seats and have a good in-flight entertainment system rather than do the opposite and give passengers more legroom.”