The Catalonian capital was followed by Chicago, New Orleans, Alaska, Honolulu, Helsinki, Seattle, Vancouver, Ibiza, Bali, Nice, Miami, Playa del Carmen, Romania , Wellington in New Zealand. Cape Cod, Boracay Island in The Philippines , Santa Barbara, Santorini, San Diego, Salzburg, Ko Phi Phi Don in Thailand , Florida Keys , Maui and Vail.
“The results of the summertime destinations awards underscores the emerging ‘escape from reality’ trend,” said Gogobot chief executive and co-founder Travis Katz.
“Vacationers are seeking out adventure and authentic local experiences when they carve out the time to get away.
“The breadth of these summer destinations, and all the options available to travellers eager to make their trips memorable, illustrates how the awards reflect that Gogobot users indeed know travel.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly
The Middle Eastern region is still feeling the effects of the 2011 Arab Spring, research presented at the WTM Vision Conference in Dubai has confirmed.
Euromonitor International estimates a 5% drop in the overall number of visitors to the region in 2012.
The decline was driven by falling visitor numbers to Syria, down from five million in 2010 to three million in 2012 following more than two years of civil unrest.
Decreases were also recorded in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
Other countries affected by the uprisings have begun to see a recovery in visitor numbers, however they are yet to reach the tourists numbers achieved before the problems hit the region.
Euromonitor International’s senior research analyst Sana Toukan told delegates Egypt was seeing the biggest return in visitor numbers with an 18% increase in 2012 to more than 10 million, with 12 million people predicted to visit this year.
However, this is far below the figure of up to 14 million travellers who visited the country in 2010.
Tunisia also reported growth last year, with visitor numbers rising to nearly six million.
It is predicted to break this barrier this year, bringing it close to the numbers it achieved in 2010.
Elsewhere, the Forecast Revisit for the Global Travel and Tourism Industry report revealed a 5% increase in global air passenger numbers in 2012, driven by the Middle East.
The increase was largely due to Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, which currently account for 54% of the Airbus order book and which have used weak European air traffic figures to focus on emerging markets.
Further growth is also predicted from the region’s no-frills carriers, which currently have 9% of the total market but which are making steady inroads in the Commonwealth of Independent States of former Soviet Union countries.
Luxury goods remain one of the key reasons for visiting the region, with the UAE alone ringing up $1.5 billion in sales in 2012.
WTM director Simon Press said: “It is great to hear that recovery has been seen in a number of Middle Eastern and north African countries, such as the UAE, Egypt and Tunisia.
“However, the danger still remains with the unrest and ongoing violence in Syria, which could affect neighbouring countries.”
The final Vision conference for 2013 is in Rimini, Italy on October 17.
Sourced from TTG Digital
“We will have at least 17 million tourists this year. This development is a vote of confidence in our country. It [means] liquidity, money for the market and new, healthy places of work,” he said, according to a report in the Guardian.
“I appeal to every citizen for the good of the country to help so as to put on our best face to foreigners.”
Industry figures, based on hotel bookings and airline capacity, project more than 1 million additional tourists this summer.
Arrivals from Russia alone are expected to increase by a third to more than 1.2 million.
The rebound in projected visitor numbers has been attributed to an array of factors, ranging from political stability to turmoil in the Middle East.
John Retsos, president of the Hellenic hotel federation, which represents 7,000 hoteliers in Greece, reportedly said: “I think the increase is indicative of the leading role tourism will have in the recovery of our economy.
“The climate, this year, is much better. Greece’s efforts [at fiscal consolidation] have been acknowledged by our EU partners and without compromising quality hoteliers have lowered prices significantly and that means great value for money.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly
Officials in Rome have conceded that shops and restaurants overcharging tourists are harming the image of Italy, after reports emerged that British tourists had paid £54 for four ice creams.
The complaints rekindled a debate over rip-offs from a number of shops, businesses and tourist operators in the city.
Roger Bannister, his brother Steven and their wives Wendy and Joyce were shocked when they were charged €16 – £13.50 – each after they ordered four ice-creams to take away while at the Antic Roma bar and gelateria near the Spanish Steps, the Telegraph reported.
Cafes and bars typically double or triple their prices for customers choose to sit down at a table, but the British group, who were on a six-day holiday, bought the ice creams to take away.
The managers of the bar in Via della Vite admitted that the British tourists had been charged €64 but defended the price by insisting that the ice creams were worth the money because they were large.
“We’re not talking about one or two scoops, they are really big,” a manager, who declined to give her name, told The Daily Telegraph. “No one forced them to order big ice creams. We also serve small ones which only cost €2.50. But if you want a lot of ice cream then it is worth the price. And the prices are displayed everywhere.”
Officials in Rome have reportedly insisted that it is shameful that tourists have been charged so much.
It’s a scandal and it should be treated as such,” said Matteo Costantini, a city councillor. “It’s not the first time that things like this have happened.”
In 2009 a restaurant near Piazza Navona hit the headlines after massively overcharging a Japanese couple for dinner, handing them a bill for €695.
Sourced from TTG Digital
Senior executives at Tui Travel have assured the president of Cyprus that it will continue to support and invest in the country.
During a meeting with president Nicos Anastasiades last week, the delegation discussed the prospects of recovery for Cypriot tourism and the broader economy.
The role tourism can play to spearhead the country’s effort to restart its economy was also discussed.
During an official dinner in the capital Nicosia, deputy chief executive Johan Lundgren, who led the Tui delegation, stressed “tourists need Cyprus, and Cyprus needs tourism”.
He added: “We will continue to support Cyprus in its reform process and we look forward to continuing our investments on the island.
Our relationship with Cyprus, which we consider a very important destination, goes back almost 50 years.
“We will need the support and assistance of various stakeholders; the government, the authorities for tourism and our partners here, to seize the opportunity that we believe exists and ensure we can continue our development plan in Cyprus, but also expand this activity within the European markets.”
The comments come in the wake of news that the eastern Mediterranean island will require a bail-out costing €23 billion in order to stay afloat.
The country must raise €13 billion in order to secure €10 billion from the EU and the IMF.
Sourced by TTG Digital
This was followed by lots of noise from APD campaigners, telling tales of petitions, letters to their MPs etc – which got me thinking. Why has the Treasury disregarded them?
On the grounds that the government is in the business of making the right decisions for the economy, then either we haven’t got the message over, or we haven’t made the case.
Much has been made of the study by PwC, on behalf of the airlines, which outlines the case for abolishing APD.
However, as quoted in the Daily Telegraph: ‘a Treasury spokesman said: We do not recognise the figures in this report or agree with the assumptions behind it.’
This strikes me that we have not done a good job of getting the argument in front of the right people.
Is Abta using the correct lobbying tactics? Maybe they are; I am not in a position to judge, but if so it’s clearly not working.
Unless – which brings me to the second, and much more fundamental, point – we do not have a good economic case to present?
If I was working in the Treasury, and George Osborne asked me to look at the issue, I would probably mention:
- The PwC report was produced for the airlines and therefore has a vested interest in their businesses. Clearly abolishing APD would increase UK airlines’ traffic, but would it help the UK economy overall in these difficult times?
- The report says that abolishing APD would just about pay for itself in tax revenue, although there are potential substantial other long-term benefits, which would mean the UK economy would be £16 billion better off by 2015.
- However, there has been no recognition anywhere that any reduction in outbound holidaymakers means an increase in domestic holidays, thereby keeping the holidaymakers’ funds within the UK economy rather than spending them overseas. This oversight undermines the findings.
- We are getting mixed messages from the airlines who say that increasing airport capacity is vital, but also saying APD is impacting their future growth. I cannot reconcile these two views.
- The study suggests that abolishing APD will mean an increase in foreign holidaymakers, but again we are getting mixed messages. Visit Britain makes the point that easing Visa restrictions, making them easier and cheaper, is the main way to stimulate overseas holidaymakers. Perhaps, George, we should address this before APD.
- In terms of business traffic the study goes into some length about how the businessman will travel through European hubs, and give more business to European airlines. Quite frankly, if businessmen want to do business in the UK, they will fly here to do it. How they get here is a commercial decision and should not impact our thinking.
- For our own UK businessmen travelling overseas, there is no real case made that APD impacts their travelling to any large extent.
- George, APD is easy to operate and cheap to collect. It brings us in three quarters of a billion pounds per annum, which we need in these difficult times. And abolishing it will not gain us any votes.
I know this is a bit basic, but while there may well be a case for abolishing APD, it is self evident that we have not made it clearly enough, or action would have been taken. Am I wrong?
Sourced from Travel Weekly
A survey by international aviation group CAPA shows the disparity in employee costs between Aer Lingus and Ryanair
AER Lingus still has the fifth-highest costs per employee among European airlines, despite pay cuts and freezes in the past four years.
A survey by international aviation group CAPA said the cost per employee at Aer Lingus was €74,818 on average, way above the average at Ryanair, where the average is €49,182.
The most expensive employees are at the troubled Scandinavian airline SAS, where the average is €104,342.
British Airways is at number nine, at €66,851. That is lower than Easyjet, where the average is €70,472.
The research is published as airline bosses, including Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, which owns British Airways and Iberia, and Aer Lingus boss Christoph Mueller gather at a two-day international aviation think-in in Co Wicklow, organised by CAPA.
“How much it costs to keep an employee at work is not just a function of wages, but is also affected by the level of social charges, the seniority mix of employees and the level of pension contributions – all areas in which unionisation and history can play a major part,” notes CAPA.
When he took over as chief executive of Aer Lingus in 2009, Mr Mueller embarked on a radical cost-reduction programme that has shaved more than €100m a year from the airline’s cost base.
Labour costs as a percentage of revenue at Aer Lingus – at 19.2pc – are just over twice as much as they are at Ryanair, where the figure is 9.5pc. But despite its tight cost controls, Ryanair is ranked the third-lowest on the scale. The airline with the lowest labour costs as a percentage of revenue is Wizzair, at 6.5pc, with Spain’s Vueling second-best at 8.6pc.
Vueling yesterday agreed to accept an offer from IAG to acquire the 54pc of the company that it doesn’t already own.
Speaking at a tourism event in Abu Dhabi yesterday, Mr Walsh said he had no plans to merge Vueling with Iberia.
IAG is targeting 3,000 job cuts at loss-making Iberia and wants to slash salaries there in order to return the business to profitability.
IAG will use Vueling to increase its short-haul business and compete more efficiently with low-cost operators, including Ryanair, which is the biggest carrier in Spain.
Labour costs as a percentage of revenue at Iberia stand at 30pc, according to CAPA.
The amount of revenue generated for each employee on the books stands at €520,265 at Ryanair – the fifth-best in CAPA’s survey. The best is Vueling, at €629,566. At Aer Lingus, the figure is €390,634.
Sourced from Irish Independent
By Phil Davies
China became the largest spender in international tourism globally in 2012, surpassing Germany and the US.
Expenditure on travel abroad from China reached a record $102 billion, up 40% on the 2011 figure of $73 billion and ahead of Germany and the US on about $84 billion each, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
China ranked seventh in international tourism expenditure in 2005 and has since successively overtaken Italy, Japan, France and the UK.
The number of international trips by Chinese travellers has grown from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012.
Expenditure by Chinese tourists abroad has also increased almost eightfold since 2000.
Rapid urbanisation, rising disposable incomes and relaxation of restrictions on foreign travel were cited as reasons for the surge in Chinese travellers abroad
Spending on travel abroad from Germany and the US grew by 6% each last year.
Spending from the UK at $52 billion grew by 4% and the country retained fourth place in the list of major source markets.
Expenditure by Canada was up by 7%, while both Australia and Japan grew by 3%.
Among the world’s top ten source markets by expenditure, the Russian Federation saw an increase of 32% in 2012, to $43 billion, bringing it from seventh to fifth place in the ranking of international tourism spending.
France (-6%) and Italy (-1%) were the only markets in the top ten to record a decline in international tourism spending, the WTO said.
Brazil, with an expenditure of $22 billion in 2012, moved up to 12th place from 29th position in 2005.
UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said: “Emerging economies continue to lead growth in tourism demand.
“The impressive growth of tourism expenditure from China and Russia reflects the entry into the tourism market of a growing middle class from these countries, which will surely continue to change the map of world tourism.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly
First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “Cardiff airport is a vital gateway to Wales for business, tourists and general travellers alike. It is essential that its future is secured and that we develop high quality sustainable services.”
He added: “The airport will not be operated by the Welsh government. It will be managed at arm’s length from government on a commercial basis and, over time, I expect to see a return to the public purse on the investment.
“A chief executive of the airport will be announced in due course.”
Welsh economy, science and transport minister Edwina Hart said: “The airport is a major piece of economic infra-structure for Wales. I look forward to working in partnership with the workforce at the airport as we develop a high quality service for passengers and create a facility of which Wales can be proud.”
Figures showed just over one million passengers used Cardiff last year, down about 200,000 in 12 months.
Bristol airport chief executive Robert Sinclair told the BBC he was sceptical that government involvement would be “arm’s length”.
“The purchase price of £52 million paid by the Welsh government – which is well above market value when compared to recent transactions involving UK airports – gives us concern that ongoing government involvement and support is highly likely,” he said.
“Airports across the world are commercial businesses operating in highly competitive markets and the global trend is towards privatisation of these assets, not nationalisation.
“Bristol airport has never been concerned about competition from Cardiff or other airports, provided that competition is on a level playing field without any form of state subsidy or government support.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly.