Monthly Archives: September 2012

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 9/17/2012


Hawaiian Airlines is bidding for nonstop flights to Tokyo

Hawaiian Airlines is among the four U.S. airlines bidding for flight rights for nonstop travel between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Kona, Hawaii. The flight rights were awarded to Delta Air Lines in 2010 with its service to Detroit, but when Delta suspended that route, the Department of Transportation decided to accept new bids. Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines have also submitted bids for routes to Tokyo through different U.S. cities.

Global tourism is on pace to reach 1 billion in 2012

International tourism numbers continue to grow, having risen 5% between January and June against the same period last year, says Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the U.N. World Tourism Organization. Rifai predicts that global tourism will reach the 1 billion mark by the end of 2012. “As we lead up to the milestone of 1 billion, we need to ensure that the tourism sector is supported by adequate national policies and that we work to reduce existing barriers to the expansion of the sector, such as complicated visa procedures, increased direct taxation or limited connectivity,” Rifai said.


Travel firms note slow recovery of luxury segment

Hotel chains and travel booking firms say the luxury-travel segment is inching back toward a full recovery, with bookings in group and leisure showing the most stable growth. “The strongest segment by far has been leisure. The consumer is buying more premium rooms every year over the previous year,” said Chris Gabaldon, chief marketing officer of Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.


Fares on U.S. airlines rise for fourth time in 2012

Southwest Airlines last week raised about 10% of its routes by $10 per round-trip. United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Virgin America and JetBlue Airways raised some rates as well, marking the fourth time this year that U.S. airlines have increased fares.

Delays, cancellations hamper American Airlines’ performance

American Airlines has suffered poor performance in the past few days, with a steep number of flight cancellations implemented throughout the country and a sharp increase in flight delays, this feature says. The carrier is embroiled in a dispute with its pilots over impending mass employee layoffs and new cost-saving work policies. American Airlines has announced plans to cut its scheduled flights in September and October in light of alleged disruptive actions by its pilots.

Hawaiian Airlines passenger traffic grew 12.6 percent in August

Hawaiian Airlines has released its August and year-to-date statistics. The carrier’s number of total passengers increased 12.6% in August compared with the same month in 2011. Year-to-date passenger totals are up 8.4% over the same period last year.

Budget airlines are growing in a sluggish industry

Several airline executives spoke at Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit on Monday to say that their low-cost airlines are growing during a sluggish economy. Executives from Spirit Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines spoke of the growth their airlines are experiencing. Consolidation was also a common topic at the summit, with leaders supporting the measures as being good for the industry.

JetBlue plans to roll out speedy in-flight Wi-Fi

Starting in the first quarter of next year, passengers aboard JetBlue flights will be able to access Wi-Fi service fast enough to stream movies and TV shows. According to an internal company e-mail, the low-cost carrier plans to partner with ViaSat to offer fast Wi-Fi that it says will give it a competitive advantage over its rivals. The e-mail says the service will be free during an initial trial period.


The Rockettes to christen Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship The high-kicking Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall fame will christen the Norwegian Breakaway on May 8, Norwegian Cruise Line disclosed on Tuesday. The Breakaway will be the largest ship to be homeported in New York, and the cruise line said the choice of the Rockettes to serve as godmothers will deepen its ties to the city.

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 9/10/2012


Las Vegas Sands will build EuroVegas casino resort in Madrid

Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon G. Adelson has announced that Madrid, not Barcelona, will be the site of a casino resort called EuroVegas. The company hasn’t yet revealed the project’s size or financing sources. “Progress toward resolution of the current economic challenges within Europe will be an important consideration,” the company said.


Hawaii expects continued growth in air seat capacity

The Hawaii Tourism Authority anticipates more growth in air travel to the state through the remainder of the year. Total air seat capacity for 2012 is expected to exceed 10 million seats, a 9% increase over last year. Total capacity is expected to reach 99% of the peak travel to Hawaii, which occurred in 2007.

Chicago travelers pay highest taxes in U.S.

Travelers incur the highest average daily tax burden in Chicago at $40.31, according to the GBTA Foundation. Considering general sales taxes on car rentals, hotel stays and meals, and what it terms as “discriminatory travel taxes” in the top 50 U.S. travel markets, GBTA found that New York ($37.98) and Boston ($34.58) followed Chicago at the top of the list.


Allegian Air adds nonstop Vegas-Boise flights

Discount airline Allegiant Air will be adding nonstop flights between Boise, Idaho, and Las Vegas beginning Oct. 26. This will compete with a route already established by Southwest Airlines, which offers two daily, nonstop flights between Las Vegas and Boise.

Frontier means business with direct booking policy

Frontier Airlines is putting its foot down with a new penalty for passengers who do not book directly through its website. Fliers who book through online travel websites such as Expedia and Orbitz will not be able to obtain seat assignments until they check in, will pay more in fees and earn fewer frequent flier miles.

American is the first US airline to replace all paper manuals with iPads in its cockpits

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that pilots on American Airlines flights would be allowed to use iPads for the “electronic flight bag,” replacing the last bit of paper that pilots deal with, such as when flying below 10,000 feet.


Cruise lines work to attract more meetings business

New initiatives and ship amenities mark cruise lines’ continued drive to bring in more business from the meetings and incentives industry. “Cruising is a great way to engage and motivate employees, customers and channel partners in a unique setting that provides great value and experience through incredible built-in features,” said Christine Duffy, Cruise Lines International Association’s president and CEO. Cruise lines are touting the cost-effectiveness and higher levels of customization that cruise meetings can offer compared with meetings on land.


Group travel a growth category

A June survey of 216 agents who had booked groups in the previous 12 months, undertaken jointly by Travel Weekly and TravelAge West, revealed that 46% of the respondents expected their group business to continue to grow through the end of 2012.


American Express Travel Finds U.S. Employees Have 8 Unused Vacation Days

U.S. employees have an average of eight unused vacation days this fall, according to American Express Travel’s American Express Spending and Saving Tracker. At the end of the year, 38 percent of workers will lose these unused vacation days while 74 percent are planning to use them over the fall months. Of those planning to use their vacation time this fall, 31 percent said they choose to travel during fall because it is the most affordable time of year, and 23 percent will travel to off-season destinations like the Caribbean and Hawaii, as they offer some great deals during this time, the study said.

Study shows aspiring travelers are online more than the average American

On a weekly basis, the Internet reaches 94% of intended travelers, in comparison to 85% of the general population reached. The comparable TV numbers are 97% vs. 89%. On weekdays, Internet weekly reach among intended travelers approaches parity with TV (91% Internet vs. 95% TV). Soon-to-be travelers are more likely to surf the Internet (91% vs. 82%), listen to radio (77% vs. 69%), and read magazines (61% vs. 51%) and newspapers (58% vs. 50%) than the general population.

Statue of Liberty interior to reopen Oct. 28

The interior of the Statue of Liberty will reopen to visitors on a limited basis on Oct. 28. The statue was closed for a one-year renovation on Oct. 29, 2011. The 125-year-old statue has been undergoing improvements for visitor safety, including upgrades to the fire-suppression system, two new means of exiting the monument, and a fire break between the statue and the pedestal, according to the National Park Service.

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 9/3/2012


Dominican Republic visitation up 7% this year

Travelers arriving by air in the Dominican Republic grew to 2.9 million visitors from January through July, up 7.2% over the same period in 2011. The U.S. continues to be the top source market, according to data from the Central Bank, which compiles arrivals statistics for the destination. Other markets showing growth include Russia, Canada and Venezuela.


United Airlines plans capacity cut through 2012. CFO says

United Airlines plans to trim capacity by up to 3% from September through the end of 2012. The carrier had previously forecast capacity cuts of up to 2% for the fourth quarter. “We are beginning to see some modest slowness in the economic outlook and we’re responding accordingly,” said CFO John Rainey.


Norwegian Cruise Line unveils hull art for the Breakaway

Norwegian Cruise Line’s newbuild to be homeported in New York will feature a hull painted with a New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty and a stylized solar system. Norwegian on Tuesday unveiled the design by pop artist Peter Max. It will decorate the 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway, which is scheduled to arrive in New York next May for a summer of seven-day cruises to Bermuda.

Royal Caribbean launches product around Barbie doll

Royal Caribbean isn’t trading in its signature gold and blue colors, but its ships are going to be a lot more pink starting in January. That’s when something called the “Barbie Experience” will debut for young princesses ages 4 to 11. Girls can sleep in Barbie-themed cabins, design Barbie outfits, go to tea and participate in a fashion show at the end of the cruise. The experience will come in a basic free version and a premium one that will cost $349.

This Week in Travel & Tourism — 8/27/2012


Tourism in Hawaii is on pace for record gains

Hawaii’s tourism officials forecast another banner year for the tourism economy as it announced that the number of visitors as well as per-visitor spending from the first half of the year were both on pace to beat 2011 levels. Visitor arrivals were up 9.8%, to 4.7 million, and expenditures rose 20.8%, to $8.4 billion.


Spirit to add Los Cabos service

Spirit Airlines will launch nonstop daily service between San Diego and Los Cabos, Mexico, on Nov. 8. The flight will be supplemented by a daily connecting flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to San Diego, launching on the same date.
In addition, Spirit will begin nonstop service four times a week between Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Cabos in June 2013.

JetBlue widens markets for upgraded Go Pack offering

JetBlue Airways has reintroduced its Go Pack travel deal, which has been expanded to include 32 markets. The new package offers fliers 10 nonstop one-way flights for a fixed price, and the travel window has been extended to three months.

United will launch 787 Dreamliner service in November

United Airlines plans to inaugurate service aboard its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Nov. 4. The carrier will fly domestic routes on the Dreamliner for a month before launching international service on Dec. 4. United has ordered a total of 50 Boeing 787-8s.

Hawaiian Airlines seeks to add route from Big Island to Tokyo

Hawaiian Airlines has applied to the Transportation Department for daily service to Haneda Airport in Tokyo from Hawaii’s Big Island. The airline has proposed a nonstop route between Kona International Airport and Haneda Airport that could begin by March.


Princess Cruises announces start of construction of new ship

Construction has begun on a new Princess Cruises ship, the Regal Princess, the cruise line has announced. Set to launch in spring 2014, the 3,600-passenger vessel will follow the debut of the Royal Princess in June 2013. Both are part of a new class of ships for the cruise line.

Disney Cruise Line, Texas port reach 2-year deal

Disney Cruise Line will be launching voyages aboard the Disney Magic from the Port of Galveston, Texas, for at least two years under a new agreement that includes a one-year renewal option. Disney says it has scheduled 38 cruises from Galveston during its first operating year.