By Hollie-Rae Merrick | 25 March 2015 at 08.37 GMT
The Tunisian tourist board will meet with agents over the coming months as it looks to provide reassurances about travelling to the country in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack that claimed 23 lives.
Eighteen tourists were killed in the attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, including 12 MSC Cruises passengers, among them Briton Sally Adey, and five Costa Cruises passengers.
The tourist board’s call for continued support came as several cruise lines, including Holland America Line, Costa and MSC, pulled Tunisia from itineraries.
The tourist board said Tunisia was still the perfect option for a beach holiday, with the resorts of Port El Kantaoui and Hammamet safe.
Sami Tounsi, trade manager for the Tunisian National Tourist Office, said 90% of bookings to the destination from the UK were made through the trade, so support from agents would be key.
“The UK is the second-largest European market to Tunisia and we’ve had steady growth year on year,” he said. “Last year was a record one, with 425,000 UK holidaymakers making it to Tunisia. This year we were expecting 460,000.”
Tounsi said the attack would affect Tunisia, but he hoped it would be only in the short term. “Tunisia must stay out of the news if it wants tourism to bounce back,” he added.
The tourist board said it planned to run roadshows to meet agents and to reassure them.
Michael Edwards, Intrepid Group UK and Europe regional director, said he believed “some tourists are going to think twice” about travelling to Tunisia following the incident.
Thomas Cook and Cosmos Holidays said normal booking conditions would remain unless Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice changed.
Thomson and First Choice have cancelled excursions to Tunis until the end of the month, but are monitoring the situation.
Red Sea Holidays, which is operating to Tunisia for the first time this year, reported no “dramatic” impact on sales.
Sourced from Travel Weekly
By Juliet Dennis | 25 March 2015 at 08.30 GMT
New regulations are expected on May 15 as part of a security crackdown to deter terrorists from travelling to Egypt.
The UK office of the Egyptian State Tourist Office said talks were ongoing, with exact details due at the end of this week.
But Egypt ministry of tourism spokeswoman Rasha Azaizi said anyone booking a trip independently, and not being met by a ground-handling agent, would need a visa in advance.
Holidaymakers booking through an operator will not be affected, but it was unclear whether tourists who book flight-only or accommodation-only through an agent would continue to be able to obtain a visa upon arrival.
“These changes will just apply to independent travellers,” said Azaizi. “Those people handled by an operator or local ground-handler will not be affected: they need to be met by a ground-handler because that’s who will get the visas for them at the airport.”
She was adamant there would be no major impact for trade business from the UK.
Andy Tomlinson, director of Sutton Travel in Sutton Coldfield, said more travellers could even be encouraged to book via the trade.
He said: “It could work in favour of operators and agents. But it is still up in the air in terms of who needs it [a visa in advance].
“I was worried about DIY packages we put together ourselves, but our clients are met on arrival by a ground-handler.”
Discover Egypt director Philip Breckner said: “As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t affect our customers, but it is confusing.”
Visas are not required for UK visitors travelling to the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba for up to 15 days, and there was no indication this would change.
Sourced from Travel Weekly
By Phil Davies | 25 March 2015 at 08.27 GMT
Tui Group today reported strong demand for summer mainstream holidays and a “significant” rise in online bookings.
Online booking levels for summer 2015 are up 12% year-on-year with 46% of the group’s mainstream programme sold – in line with this time last year.
Unique holidays account for almost three quarters of all mainstream bookings for the coming summer, up by three percentage points.
Overall summer bookings are up by 1% with average selling prices also up by 1%.
“Based on current trading, we remain confident of delivering full year underlying operating profit growth of 10% to 15%'” the Thomson and First Choice parent company said in a trading update this morning.
Tui Group chief executives of TUI Group, Friedrich Joussen and Peter Long said: “Winter 2014/15 is closing out as expected, with our mainstream programme almost fully sold and higher average selling prices in most source markets.
“We are pleased with summer 2015 trading, with continued strong demand for our unique holidays and a significant increase in online bookings.
Hotels & resorts are performing well and cruise sales continue to grow, with the launch of Mein Schiff 4 this June and improved fleet performance by Hapag-Lloyd.
“Accommodation Wholesaler is also delivering another year of double-digit TTV growth.
“We are continuing to implement our strategy post-merger, and will articulate this in further detail at our capital markets update on 13 May 13.
“We are on track to deliver a first half result ahead of last year on a like-for-like basis, and remain confident of delivering full year underlying operating profit growth of 10% to 15%.”
Europe’s largest travel group saw winter 2014/15 closing out “as expected,” with higher average selling prices in most source markets, up 1% overall.
Sourced from Travel Weekly
By Phil Davies | 25 March 2015 at 08.24 GMT
Germanwings flights cancelled as crews ‘refuse to fly’ in wake of crash
Passengers were left stranded as Germanwings crews refused to board similar aircraft to the Airbus A320 which crashed in the French Alps killing all 150 people on board.
Flights from Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester and in Germany were affected in the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s tragedy.
A mother and baby from Manchester were believed to have been on board flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf which was carrying 144 passengers and six crew.
Foreign secretary Philip Hammond said t was “sadly likely” that there were British nationals on board.
Pilots were said to be refusing to fly for “personal reasons” as concerns were raised about the A320 involved in the disaster – an aircraft built in 1991.
Several Germanwings flights were cancelled as it emerged that the aircraft involved in the crash had been grounded for an hour at Barcelona airport for repairs just a day before the accident.
Pilots and cabin crew expressed their concerns the crash may have been linked to a repair to the nose-wheel landing doors on Monday, The Telegraph reported.
Germanwings parent company Lufthansa denied that there was any link between the repair and the cancelled flights.
A statement last night from the low cost carrier confirmed that some flights had to be cancelled.
“Following the tragic accident on Tuesday, Germanwings reports occasional flight disruptions within its route network,” the airline said.
“This is due to crew members, who decided not to operate aircraft following the reports on the accident of a Germanwings aircraft with 144 passengers and six crew members onboard.”
Spokesman Thomas Winkelmann said: “We understand their decision.”
The two pilots on the doomed flight had reported no sign of any problems before the aircraft disappeared from radar screens from its cruising altitude of 38,000ft before crashing into a remote mountainside at 6,500ft.
The aircraft went into a steady and rapid descent for eight minutes from halfway through its 90-minute flight from Barcelona.
Sixteen German schoolchildren returning home from a Spanish exchange trip and two babies were among the dead, who included 67 Germans, 45 Spaniards, a Belgian, and Turkish passengers.
The first of the A320’ss black box flight recorders had been recovered by last night, holding information about why it suddenly dropped out of the sky.
Airbus confirmed that the aircraft involved in the accident was orginally delivered to Lufthansa in 1991 and it had flown approximately 58,300 hours in some 46,700 flights.
To date, the entire fleet has accumulated some 150 million flight hours in over 85 million flights.
“Airbus will make further factual information available as soon as the details have been confirmed and cleared by the authorities for release,” the manufacturer said.
“The concerns and sympathy of the Airbus employees go to the families, friends and loved ones affected by the accident of Flight 4U9525.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly
By Ian Taylor | 24 March 2015 at 08.23 GMT
The travel industry will grow faster than the global economy this year, according to the latest World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecast.
The WTTC’s annual economic impact assessment predicts travel and tourism will grow by 3.7% worldwide this year against a global economic growth forecast of 2.9%.
The Council forecasts the sector’s total contribution to the world economy will reach $7,860 billion or 10% of global GDP, up by $280 billion on 2014, and travel will account for 9.5% of all jobs in the world “once all direct, indirect and induced impacts” are included.
The industry accounted for 277 million jobs worldwide last year, according to WTTC estimates.
WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill (pictured) said: “Travel and tourism continues to grow faster than the global economy and is an enduring source of job creation and a driver of growth for every region in the world.”
He added: “The sector has recorded strong economic growth in 19 of the last 20 years, providing much-needed economic stability at a time of global economic volatility.
“Governments looking for a sector which can create jobs and drive economic growth should focus on travel and tourism.”
But Scowsill noted: “This industry requires the right regulatory environment in which to flourish, along with progressive policies on visa access, taxation, human resources planning, and sustainability.”
In an interview with Travel Weekly, Scowsill hit out at the UK government for failing to address these issues.
He said: “The UK is not a good example of managing the sector.”
The WTTC estimates the US and China as the two biggest travel and tourism economies in the world, with Germany now in third place, having overtaken Japan, and the UK in fifth.
The Council expects Russia to be the only G20 country to register a decline in travel and tourism growth this year, due to sanctions imposed by the US and European Union over the Ukraine.
The WTTC forecasts South Asia will see the highest travel and tourism growth in 2015 at 6.9% year on year, against growth in Europe of 2.4%.
However, Scowsill said: “The long-term prospects for our sector are very encouraging.
“Travel and tourism will continue to grow faster than the global economy and most other major industries.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly
By Phil Davies | 24 March 2015 at 07.44 GMT
The Irish government is reported to have urged the UK Competition and Markets Authority to force Ryanair to sell most of its stake in Aer Lingus.
It is the latest chapter in an ongoing attempt by British Airways owner International Airlines Group to persuade the Dublin government that it should sell its 25.1% shareholding in Aer Lingus and approve the takeover of the airline.
The UK competition watchdog should not be swayed from its previously stated position that Ryanair must be forced to cut its stake in Aer Lingus from nearly 30% to no more than 5%, according to a letter from a senior Irish transport department official to the CMA.
The CMA’s predecessor, the Competition Commission, ordered Ryanair to reduce its Aer Lingus holding two years ago, citing competition concerns. The watchdog also claimed that because Ryanair was such a big shareholder in Aer Lingus, it was likely to deter other airlines from making a bid to buy Aer Lingus.
Ryanair has claimed the fact that International Airlines Group has since made an approach to buy Aer Lingus negates a fundamental plank of the CMA decision to make it cut its stake in its smaller rival.
But the Irish Department of Transport said it agrees with the original finding and that it should still stand, the Irish Independent reported.
“The department considers that the IAG proposal confirms that merger and acquisition opportunities exist for Aer Lingus but that it also confirms that interest in acquiring Aer Lingus is contingent on Ryanair exiting Aer Lingus’ share register,” the letter to the CMA is reported to state.
“I can confirm that it remains the position of the government that it is unlikely to sell its shareholding in Aer Lingus while Ryanair continues to be a significant minority shareholder.
“The department considers that the CMA should…proceed with the remedial action.”
The CMA is proposing that a trustee be appointed to oversee the sale of the bulk of Ryanair’s holding in Aer Lingus.
However, IAG has asked the CMA that it instead give Ryanair permission to sell the entire Aer Lingus holding to IAG.
Ryanair has insisted it has strong grounds for not being forced to reduce its Aer Lingus stake.
Sourced from Travel Weekly