Travel summit notes rise in demand for exotic destinations
Travel agents and tour operators who attended Ensemble Travel Group’s recent Las Vegas conference report that travelers are increasingly being drawn to exotic and off-the-beaten-track destinations. “The hot destinations are Ecuador, the Galapagos, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, African safaris. People are going for big-ticket items. It’s like they want to spend money now because they don’t know how things will be later on,” said Judy Ruffini, a regional sales manager at General Tours.
Airlift problems hamper tourism in the Caribbean
Air travel between Caribbean islands usually consists of multileg flights that take several hours. This lack of convenient flight options could be one reason that tourism in the region is not growing as rapidly as hoped, tourism experts say. “Intra-Caribbean tourism is down by 40% in the last five years. Make air travel more accessible — get rid of the visa regulations, make it cheaper — and more people will travel. It changes the equation,” said Richard Doumeng, president of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.
Luxury travel is leaning toward uniqueness, customization
Luxury travelers are increasingly demanding customized trips heavy in out-of-the-ordinary experiences, experts said during Signature Travel Network’s Sales Meeting and Trade Show in Las Vegas this week. “We have arranged white-linen banquets on the Great Wall and trips down a tributary of the Li River (Guilin) in bamboo rafts. We take clients to studios of major artists and fashion designers. In Beijing, there’s a private $300 million art collection, which people can see, and be taught by the owner how to understand Chinese art,” said Margot Kong, a vice president with Imperial Tours in San Francisco.
Survey: Holiday travel spending will rise 12% this year
An annual survey by Allianz Global Assistance USA indicates that holiday travel spending this year will reach $72.9 billion — up about 12% over 2011. Forty-five percent of respondents said they are “very confident” that they will take a holiday vacation this year, compared with 42% in the previous year.
Business travel could benefit from U.S. “fiscal cliff,” group says
The impending “fiscal cliff” of expiring tax cuts and reduced federal spending could benefit business travel over the long term, the Global Business Travel Association says in a report. “The elimination of tax cuts and reductions in federal spending would lead to reduced deficits and lower interest rates over the long run, resulting in business travel spending and an overall economy that grows more quickly after absorbing the shock of the fiscal cliff,” the GBTA said. However, the U.S. economy stands to lose $20 billion in business-travel spending over nine quarters if the economy goes over the so-called cliff, the group says.
U.S. Travel Association grass-roots program will focus on Congress
The U.S. Travel Association has unveiled plans for a grass-roots initiative that aims to cultivate industry advocates in Congress. “Every congressional district in America can thank travel for jobs and economic activity, so we’ve designed a program to build our bench of champions in Congress, those members who will stand with us and play offense on policies to protect and stimulate increased travel,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow. The Travel Blitz program is set to launch next year.
Norwegian overcomes hurdles to become successful in Hawaii
Norwegian Cruise Line’s 10% price increase on Hawaii cruises next year is a big improvement from several years ago, when the line’s 2,138-passenger Pride of America was struggling.
Virgin Atlantic gains short-haul slots at Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic said it has been offered all of the Heathrow short-haul slots available following International Airline Group’s acquisition of BMI. International Airline Group is the parent of British Airways.
DOT approves Delta’s route to Tokyo from Seattle
The Department of Transportation has approved the request from Delta Air Lines to transfer service from one of its two routes between Detroit and Haneda Airport in Tokyo to Seattle. The switch will “open Haneda access to a new region of the country,” the DOT said.