Monthly Archives: August 2012

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 8/20/2012


Mexico City efforts include medical tourism, green programs

Mexico City is on the move with new initiatives and programs designed to garner specific market segments, capitalize on the destination’s myriad offerings and showcase its total product line. The city’s minister of tourism, Carlos Mackinlay, said that “tourism is a key economic generator of Mexico City,” representing 7% of its gross domestic product.


USTA will highlight importance of travel at political conventions

The U.S. Travel Association has announced its Vote Travel 2.0 plans for the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions. The multipronged initiative seeks to inform policymakers about the crucial economic role of travel and tourism. “We are pushing a message that will stay with attendees — that the travel industry generates $1.9 trillion in economic output and includes 14 million of U.S. jobs — and without it, the conventions wouldn’t be possible,” said Blain Rethmeier, U.S. Travel’s senior vice president for public affairs.


Interjet applies to serve six U.S.-Mexico routes

Mexican carrier Interjet applied to the Department of Transportation for authorization to begin service on six U.S. routes. The routes are: Mexico City-Orange County, Calif.; Guadalajara-Orange County; San Jose del Cabo-Orange County; Toluca-Houston, Toluca-Chicago and Toluca-Las Vegas. Aeromexico and Volaris serve Las Vegas from Mexico City. Toluca is a secondary airport serving Mexico City.

JetBlue reportedly will boost flights to Colombia

JetBlue Airways is looking to increase its flights to Colombia, a newspaper based in Bogota, Colombia, reports. Portafolio also reported that JetBlue will add a route between Bogota and Puerto Rico in 2013. The carrier is also considering flights to Cali, Medellin and Barranquilla, the newspaper says.

Southwest explores flying outside continental U.S.

Southwest and Transport Workers Union’s Local 556 are waiting to see if flight attendants approve a measure that would allow the airline to fly routes to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and non-U.S. destinations. The union president says the deal would be a launching pad for the airline to plan for growth.

Window, aisle preferences could cost you

Airlines including US Airways, Spirit, American and Delta are imposing fees for window and aisle seats, two popular flier preferences. According to 2012 data from Expedia, 21% of customers chose window seats, while 20% preferred to sit along the aisle; the rest had no preference.

Airlines could continue to test demand with fare increases

A successful fare hike on trips shorter than 500 miles by Southwest Airlines could signal more airfare increases this year. “I think they are testing demand and they will continue to do it for the rest of the year,” said Rick Seaney, founder of the travel website


Agents are getting more online options for cruise training

More cruise lines are launching online cruise-training programs to improve agents’ skills in selling their products, this feature says. Training modules include destination education, brand orientation and sales and marketing training.

Cunard announces world itineraries for its 3 Queen cruise ships

Cunard Line has unveiled the 2014 world-cruise itineraries for its three Queen vessels — flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Queen Mary 2 is set to visit 19 countries around the world with overnight port destinations including Hong Kong, Dubai, and Cape Town, South Africa. Queen Elizabeth will visit Japan for the first time with port calls in Kobe, Kochi, Nagasaki and Yokohama. Queen Victoria will traverse the globe on a 116-day sailing that will visit 40 ports in 19 countries.

Carnival tries out drinks program about the Carnival Victory

Carnival Cruise Lines is holding a trial run of its “My Awesome Bar Program,” giving passengers access to a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks for about $50 a day including tips. The package is available to passengers 21 and older aboard the Carnival Victory.


MGM Resorts proposes $800 million Massachusetts resort

MGM Resorts International has proposed building an $800 million entertainment-retail resort in Springfield, Mass., that would have 250 hotel rooms and 89,000 square feet of gaming space, as well as 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.


Hotels take up growing juice trend

Juice bars and juicing-themed packages are popping up in hotels in response to the growing wellness trend, this feature says. “Hotels have taken notice that their travelers, especially those that spend time in the spa, are looking to keep their bodies healthy on the road. These clients are not interested in spending time and money detoxing in the spa only to fill up on unhealthy, processed food,” said Linden Schaffer, director of wellness-travel firm Pravassa.

Google ignites speculation with Frommer’s acquisition

Google’s announcement last week that it would purchase Frommer’s, the iconic publisher of print and electronic travel guides, touched off a wave of speculation over the search giant’s motives and what the move might portend for the travel industry.

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 8/6/2012


Strong leisure business is driving hotel growth in Miami

Strong media attention and an influx of tourists from Latin America are driving up leisure-hotel demand in the Miami market, this feature says. Hoteliers and foreign investors have taken note of the growth and are looking to increase their presence in the market, experts say.


Interjet starts New York-Mexico City service

Interjet launched daily service between New York JFK and Mexico City. Introductory roundtrip fares through Aug. 31 start at $349, including two checked bags up to 55 pounds each. New York is Interjet’s third U.S. gateway, following Miami and San Antonio.

AA launches baggage-delivery service

Beginning today, American Airlines customers can bypass the airport baggage claim and have their bags delivered to their home, office or hotel. AA has partnered with Bags VIP Luggage Delivery to launch the service, which is available in most major U.S cities, except Las Vegas. The service also is available in the Bahamas, Aruba, Dublin and five Canadian cities (Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver).

This month, WestJet is all about Disney

This month, WestJet is serving up snacks, cartoons, movies, and more — all with a Disney theme. The promotion coincides with deals for stays at Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disney’s Aulani resort in Hawaii. Travelers who book vacations before the end of October through WestJet Vacations can get a price guarantee and a refund if the fee goes up 21 days before departure.


OTA stocks take hit due to gloomy forecasts

Gloomy projections about the next two quarters sent stocks of online travel agencies tumbling, even for those that reported positive quarterly results. Priceline, which Wednesday reported strong second-quarter numbers — revenue up a hefty 21% and net income soaring 37% — still saw its stock fall 17% after CEO Jeffery Boyd gave lower-than-expected projections for the third quarter because of the eurozone crisis.


Norwegian Cruise Line unveils restructuring of reservations team

Norwegian Cruise Line’s reservations team will undergo restructuring that will turn each member into a “universal reservation agent” capable of handling all types of calls, the company said during a webinar this week for travel agents. “As you call in, you don’t have to call in a group booking to one department and call in a FIT booking to another. We want to make it as efficient for you as possible,” said Crane Gladding, a Norwegian senior vice president.


LGBT travelers get new gay-centric hotel-search website

World Rainbow Hotels has launched a website aimed at providing LGBT travelers a database of “genuine” gay- and lesbian-friendly hotels, this feature says. Searches can also be sorted according to consumers’ budgets. “Too often hoteliers claim their establishment is ‘gay-friendly’ but then fail to deliver on their promise. Gay and lesbian consumers want more than a rainbow flag in the window. They want to feel genuinely welcome as gay and lesbian individuals and they want to know that the hotel’s staff understands their travel concerns,” said Nicolas Wijnants, brand director at World Rainbow Hotels.


Investment in California parks paying off, says Disney CEO

After having pumped more than $1 billion into the Disneyland Resort’s Disney California Adventure, Disney appears confident that its plan to reinvigorate the theme park has worked. Since the June opening of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, attendance has been up, along with guest satisfaction, said Disney CEO Bob Iger during the company’s third-quarter conference call. He said Disneyland Resort set an attendance record for the third quarter.