Τετάρτη, 31 Ιουλίου 2013

SWISS and Edelweiss Air support the "Wings for Japan" aid project

For the second time already, airlines flew Japanese children, who were affected by the Tsunami in 2011, to Switzerland. 

At 19.00 hrs. on 26th July, 25 Japanese children aged between 12 and 16 landed with Air Edelweiss at Zurich Airport. The children, all of whom came from the Tohoku region and would spend a whole week exploring the central Swiss mountains as well as Berne and Zurich. With the action, the two Swiss airlines in the Lufthansa Group aim to provide the children with an opportunity to enjoy some diversion and to form friendships for life in the Swiss mountains. They were looked after by about 20 voluntary helpers, who also provided diversion with game afternoons.

"Wings for Japan" was launched in 2011, following the publication of the book "Tsunami" by the Japanese journalist Ken Mori, by active and former SWISS employees. In the book, around 80 children aged from 5 to 17 report on their experiences and fates with the Tsunami in the form of stories and pictures. "Wings for Japan" set itself the objective of taking all 80 children, little by little, on a visit to Switzerland to offer them some positive diversion in what for them is still a difficult everyday life, and bring some happiness to their lives through meetings with Swiss children of the same age. SWISS and Edelweiss Air have been supporting the project since its foundation with flights between Japan and Switzerland. 

The help from SWISS and Edelweiss Air are commitments made by the employees, like those that have existed for years in other companies within the Lufthansa Group, for example, the HelpAlliance of Lufthansa or Cargo Human Care of the Lufthansa Cargo. SWISS is also a long-standing partner of SOS Kinderdorf, while Edelweiss Air has supported the children's relief organization Camaquito in Cuba for many years. 


airberlin: more flights to Russia in the winter

From winter 2013/2014, airberlin is increasing the number of flights it operates to Russia. The airline will fly twice a day from Berlin to St. Petersburg in the winter. On its popular route Berlin - Moscow, airberlin will increase the number of services on offer by one additional flight per week to a total of 14.    
"Russia is a key strategic market for airberlin. By introducing this expanded service we are reacting to the increased demand for flights to and from Russia and strengthening our position. We now offer our flight guests a consistent service all year round and provide excellent connections via Berlin. With this expansion we are particularly strengthening our service between Berlin and St. Petersburg. airberlin operates more flights on this route than any other airline, with up to 14 flights per week," said Paul Gregorowitsch, Chief Commercial Officer at airberlin.    
The flights from and to Russia have excellent connections via the hub in Berlin offering guests numerous additional destinations. Guests from Russia can travel on to southern Europe or the USA, for example. There are also excellent connections from the airberlin route network to Russia.   
The airberlin group operates non-stop flights from Berlin, Dusseldorf, Munich and Vienna to the three Russian destinations of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad and offers in total up to 63 flights per week to Russia. People travelling from Russia can choose from up to 57 worldwide connections. In addition, guests can access up to 13 more destinations within Russia with its oneworld® partner S7 via Moscow under the codeshare agreement with the airberlin group.   


Airbus Americas seeking two manufacturing station coordinators for Mobile assembly line

Airbus has posted two more job openings related to the manufacturing activities at its assembly line in Mobile, Alabama. 
The company is seeking one person to fill the role of Avionics/Electrical Installation Station Coordinator and another person to fill the role of Mechanical Installation Station Coordinator. In both roles, during the project phase of the assembly line, these individuals will help coordinate preparation of the assembly process of the stations these roles support and help ensure a smooth start-up of Airbus’ U.S. assembly line. Once production starts they will direct and coordinate work on the stations they support.  
For a full job description of each position, go to www.aidt.edu/airbus.

On July 2, 2012, Airbus announced it is building an assembly line for its A320 Family of aircraft in Mobile. The groundbreaking for the assembly line was on April 8, 2013, and construction is underway. Hiring for manufacturing jobs will continue into 2014. Aircraft production will begin in 2015, with the first Mobile-assembled aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2016.

JetBlue and South African Airways Announce Bilateral Codeshare



JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU), New York's Hometown Airline(TM), and South African Airways (SAA) today announced a bilateral codeshare agreement to seamlessly connect the carriers' networks via New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Washington's Dulles International Airport (IAD). The agreement is pending U.S. DOT regulatory approval and subject to receipt of foreign government operating authority.

The partnership - an expansion of an interline agreement first inked in 2010 - allows customers to purchase a single ticket combining SAA- and JetBlue-operated flights and enjoy day-of-travel conveniences such as one-stop check-in and baggage transfer.

JetBlue intends to place its "B6" code on South African Airways-operated flights between the U.S. and both Johannesburg, South Africa, and Dakar, Senegal, as well as on connecting flights to select destinations beyond Johannesburg, including Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Tickets will be available for sale at a later date, pending regulatory and government approvals.

The fastest way to more of South Africa and southern Africa, SAA flies nonstop each day between New York and Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport and daily between Washington and Johannesburg via Dakar's Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport.

SAA has had a similar arrangement in place with JetBlue since 2011, placing its "SA" code on JetBlue-operated flights from its U.S. gateways to top destinations including Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida.

"We are excited to expand our successful relationship with South African Airways through this new codeshare via Washington and JFK, where JetBlue is the number one domestic airline," said Scott Laurence, JetBlue's vice president of network planning and partnerships. "South African has been a terrific travel partner for JetBlue, consistently delivering a great experience for our customers. We look forward to working with them to offer even more travel options in the years to come."

"South African Airways' partnership with JetBlue has been a successful one from the start, and so we're pleased that it has now grown into a bilateral codeshare arrangement, providing our customers with even more convenient booking and travel options," said Marc Cavaliere, SAA's executive vice president, North America & Alliances. "Our customers have raved about the ease of travel on both airlines. It was only fitting that we expand the partnership and introduce the JetBlue code onto SAA flights and into the African continent."

South African Airways is one of the world's most awarded airlines, recently named Best Airline in Africa for the 11th consecutive year at the World Airline Awards presented by Skytrax. With fully-flat bed seats in Premium Business Class, industry-leading legroom in Economy Class, sumptuous cuisine and award-winning, complimentary South African wines, SAA provides an in-flight experience designed for pure comfort. Individual audio/video entertainment systems deliver a surplus of first-run movie and music choices. Via its Johannesburg hub, SAA links the world to most cities and destinations across southern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands, including South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Known for its award-winning customer service, JetBlue offers codeshare customers connecting to/from SAA flights a premium experience that includes unlimited free snacks and drinks plus the most legroom in economy class (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch) and the most free live entertainment of any U.S. airline. JetBlue operates one of America's youngest airline fleets, with 187 Airbus A320 and EMBRAER 190 aircraft.

At JFK Airport, JetBlue operates from its acclaimed Terminal 5, while SAA operates from the adjacent Terminal 4, allowing for fast and easy connections between flights.

At Washington Dulles, both JetBlue and SAA are co-located in Concourse B.
Tucked in the aft corner of Carnival Sunshine, just off the Havana Bar is quite possibly one of the best dining values at sea, Jiji’s Asian Kitchen, where for $12 per person ($5 for kids) you can enjoy a four course meal that will leave you wanting to dine there another night.
Carnival Sunshine
Everything cooked fresh in Jiji’s Asian Kitchen.
China, Mongolia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam’s regional cuisines are the inspiration for Carnival Sunshine’s brand new, full service restaurant, Ji Ji Asian Kitchen.
The experience
Elegant surroundings and clever decorative touches such as hanging light fixtures and Chinese prayer rolls provide ambiance in the restaurant.
Kung Pao Chicken.
Kung Pao Chicken.
After checking in at the hostess stand you are seated in the restaurant where you are brought out some complimentary bread and sauces, followed by the server taking your drink order and the ordering process.
Hear reviews of Jiji’s Asian Kitchen on our Carnival Sunshine episode of Cruise Radio.
The menu is laid out simple and the head of the table orders everyone’s food at the table. How it works is the server rolls the dice and it lands on a lucky number. Everyone at the table goes around rolling the dice until someone lands on the lucky number.
Food
Seven different appetizers, seven different entrees and an assortment of classic sides and soups with a new twist make up the menu.
Chicken spring rolls.
Chicken spring rolls.
A sample of the menu:
▪   Nanjiing-style duck appetizers
▪   Chicken spring rolls
▪   Slow-braised Wagyu beef short rib with watermelon radish
▪   Chicken & Cilantro Root Soup
▪   Sweet & Sour Fragrant Shrimp
▪   Hakka Style Noodles
See the full menu of Jiji’s Asian Kitchen here.
Rose Crème brûlée.
Rose Crème brûlée is a not-to-miss dessert.
Words can’t describe how great this venue is and I’d put it up against a PF Chang’s or any land-based Asian fusion venue. There simply isn’t a better value at sea.
Reservations suggested
It is suggested that you make reservations in Jiji’s Asian Kitchen, because once word gets around, it does book up. On our sailing we had the opportunity to dine three times. Each time we dined (without reservations) it was harder and harder for us to get in. In fact, they kept trying to book us for another night and we kept saying we weren’t coming back, and we always did.
Free lunch time offerings
Jiji’s is free at lunch offering a noodle bar with vegtables and meats, usually open until 2p on port days and a little later on sea days.

Carnival Sunshine will be homeported in the Med until October, then heading to New Orleans until April 2014, then Port Canaveral.

Source:Cruise Radio News

Adventure Travel Trade Association Creates Travel Advisor Membership


The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) unveiled a new, progressive travel advisor membership program meant to attract professionals specializing in selling adventure travel destinations and activities to further strengthen the global adventure tourism network. 
Adventure travel advisors may now secure annual, fee-based individual memberships to access benefits that include special familiarization trip invitations, destination training, facilitated partnerships, sales leads and consumer access on adventure.travel. More than thirty travel advisors (also known as travel agents or specialists) are already activeATTA members within the network of more than 900 adventure travel organizations which include tour operators, destinations tourism boards and marketing organizations, outdoor industry brands, and association partners.
ATTA President Mr. Shannon Stowell said, “For years, we’ve looked to support and reach out to travel advisors specializing in adventure travel. Now, with our dedicated membership program, we plan to more readily integrate these travel advisors into the adventure tourism supply chain, to offer specialized training and to connect them with partners that will bring more adventure travel offerings to consumers. Travel advisors have the power to influence buying behavior with their traveler relationships and this is precisely what we wish to cultivate within our network.”
In addition to offering advisor-oriented content within the ATTA’s Webinar and annual Adventure Travel World Summit programs throughout the years, the first annual Adventure Travel Mexico (ATMEX), an event backed by the ATTA, last year began an expansion of interest by travel advisors in the ATTA and by the ATTA for travel advisors.
Susan Kelly from Luxury Adventure Trips, an affiliate of Travel Experts said, "When I first joined ATTA, there were only a few travel advisor members and that didn't concern me in the slightest. I recognized right away that this was my tribe. As the adventure travel industry has grown, there are more travel advisors who are embracing their passion to sell this type of travel and ATTA has set the standards for agents and operators alike to create experiences that are safe and enriching for all travelers. ‘Learn, partner, grow’ is the ATTA's tag line and that's what this organization is about.”
The ATTA invites travel advisors selling packaged or custom trips to fill out a travel advisor application form. Memberships are held by individual advisors to recognize the unique business solutions each travel advisor offers to their travelers. ATTA Travel Advisor Membership costs $150 per advisor and requires an accreditation number issued from an accredited organizations such as IATA, ARC, TRUE and CLIA for approval.

Cancun Welcomes NIZUC Resort & Spa to its List of Luxury Hotels

The Cancun Convention & Visitor’s Bureau proudly announces one of the newest additions to its hotel repertoire. NIZUC Resort & Spa, which opened last march and is located in the exclusive enclave of Punta Nizuc in Cancun, redefines the standard of luxury with its unique amenities and outstanding service. 
With contemporary Mexican design that showcases the Mayan spirit, modern facilities, exceptional culinary options and impeccable butler service, Cancun’s newest resort affords another high-end option for its increasingly discerning travelers. This property also offers an 8,500 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Conference and Events Center that includes a ballroom, two conference rooms, an expansive lobby and outdoor function space. 
This 29-acre resort is comprised of 274 suites and villas on some of the most desirable beachfront property in the Yucatan Peninsula and is divided into three areas, each with a distinctive atmosphere. Signature categories include 29 Garden Pool Villas, including the expansive Presidential and Nizuc Suites; 44 Ocean Suites; and 201 Residence Suites, offering multiple categories with high ceilings and dramatic views. Exterior suites feature private pools, outdoor gardens, decks, panoramic ocean and mangrove views and contemporary furniture. 
NIZUC Resort & Spa is also home to five swimming pools (two adults-only), two exclusive white sand beaches, a kids club and four bars. Foodies will delight in the resort’s six world-class restaurants that can satisfy even the most sophisticated and diverse palates. Restaurants include: 

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Café de la Playa – Nizuc’s main restaurant serves global cuisine in a casual atmosphere.

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Ramona – Serves traditional and contemporary Mexican cuisine in a spectacular setting overlooking the beach. Chef’s table and private wine cellar dining room are also available. 

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Ni – A Peruvian restaurant specializing in tapas, tiraditos and ceviches.

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La Punta Lounge & Grill – Offers the best seafood and fine cuts of meat, served in a casual outdoor atmosphere with panoramic ocean views. 

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Indochine – Recreates the classic dishes of the Far East with a fusion of Asian spices and fresh ingredients.

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Terra Nostra – A Mediterranean venue that explores the region’s rich culinary heritage. 
The 30,000 sq. ft. Nizuc Spa by ESPA is a perfect oasis for guests who wish to experience total relaxation during their vacation. This world-class spa offers unique Mayan-inspired therapies like their signature Mayan Cacao massage, a muscle-melting massage using the purest Mexican cacao oil; and the Nizuc Renewal treatment, perfect for soothing and relaxing the mind.
NIZUC Resort & Spa is just one of the destination’s newest properties that bring more options for visitors in search of sophistication, great cuisine and amazing scenery. Cancun’s hotel offerings continue to grow and up the ante with new amenities, treatments and luxurious accommodations.

Grace Bay Resorts adds new luxurious Caribbean resort to its portfolio

Grace Bay Resorts, the Luxury Boutique Operator in Turks & Caicos will assume operational responsibility and take an ownership stake in the management of West Bay Club, the idyllic resort located just three miles from Grace Bay Club on the award-winning Grace Bay Beach. 
The hotel will be re-branded as 'West Bay Club, a Grace Bay Resort', effective immediately. With 46 oceanfront suites, the hotel blends Caribbean charm with modern, chic design. West Bay Club currently operates one restaurant, Atlantic Bar & Grill that offers a casual, poolside dining experience, as well as an intimate spa and fitness center. West Bay Club enjoys a world class location on the largest and most private stretch of Grace Bay Beach, providing an extraordinary oceanfront experience to rival any Caribbean resort.
Gradual property-wide improvements will be made over the next 18 months, while Grace Bay Resorts' short-term focus will be to complete a thorough repositioning of West Bay Club with a significant emphasis on enhancing service standards, implementing training programs to improve on the resort's already strong reputation. Additionally, plans are already in place to enhance the resort's food and beverage programs which will be announced soon.
West Bay Club's striking architecture combines traditional Caribbean design with Barbadian-inspired décor elements, such as cedar shingle roofing, expansive balconies with ocean views and an elegant, central courtyard. Guest rooms are contemporary in style.
Paired with the hospitality group's personal concierge service and unrivaled attention to detail, the addition of West Bay Club to a Grace Bay Resorts portfolio reinforces the award-winning hospitality brand's commitment to redefining service in the Caribbean.

UNWTO: Tourism identified as key sector for high impact in Aid for Trade

The developmental impact and potential of tourism was highlighted at the World Trade Organization's Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva. 
At the meeting, UNWTO emphasized the increasingly prominent role of tourism in developing countries, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and called for increased support for tourism in international aid for development (Geneva, Switzerland, 8-10 July 2013).
The Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade, centered on the theme "Connecting to value chains", aimed to examine development assistance in connecting developing countries and firms of developing countries to value chains. For the first time tourism has been identified by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as one of the key 5 sectors with great potential for high impact in Aid for Trade.
Speaking at the event, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai made a call for the increased recognition and support for tourism. "Recent research shows a striking disparity between tourism´s high potential and current contribution to development and the low priority it has been given so far in terms of aid, namely regarding Aid for Trade and Official Development Assistance (ODA)", he said. "Tourism is a key trade category in developing countries, accounting for 30% of the overall service exports of LDCs and thus has a great potential for high impact in Aid for Trade". Mr. Rifai added.
In spite of tourism accounting for 9% of global GDP, including direct, indirect and induced impacts, the sector is only allocated 0.13% of ODA and 0.5% of Aid for Trade, with average projects size at US$ 300,000 in Aid Support, according to 'Connecting Developing Country Firms to Tourism Value Chains', a joint study by the OECD, the WTO and UNWTO, launched at the meeting.
As part of the Fourth Global Review of Aid for Trade, the 'Joint WTO-OECD side event on the Aid-For-Trade Monitoring and Evaluation Exercise' underscored the tourism sector´s actual and potential developmental impacts, with multiple linkages into the rest of the economy. It cited actions that developing countries, their development partners and tourism stakeholders could take to maximize positive linkages, in order to help achieve job creation and sustainable development objectives.
Aid for Trade aims to help developing countries, particularly the LDCs, develop the trade-related skills and infrastructure needed to implement and benefit from agreements and to expand their productive capacities and trade. The WTO-OECD led initiative encourages developing country governments and donors to recognize the role that trade can play in development, and seeks to mobilize resources to address the trade-related constraints identified by developing and least developed countries.

Malaysia Airlines adds frequency to Auckland and Yangon

Malaysia Airlines continues its expansion mode with the announcement of additional frequencies to two of its current destinations, Auckland and Yangon, as well as a new codeshare with Xiamen Airlines into Xiamen and Fuzhou. 
Only last week, the Malaysian national carrier announced its entry into Dubai, Darwin and Kochi.   
Starting 1 August 2013, Malaysia Airlines is increasing its frequency from Kuala Lumpur into Yangon, Myanmar, from ten times weekly to 14 times weekly or twice daily. Meanwhile, services on Kuala Lumpur - Auckland, New Zealand, will be increased from six times weekly to daily services effective 24 November 2013. 
On the Yangon route, starting 1 August 2013, MH742 will depart every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday in addition to Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays from Kuala Lumpur. This additional frequency will depart Kuala Lumpur at 1.30pm and arrive Yangon at 2.40 pm on the same day. The return service MH743 will depart from Yangon on the same days at 3.45pm and arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 8.00pm. The existing frequency on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays depart Kuala Lumpur at 2.45pm and arrive at Yangon at 3.55pm on the same day. 
Meanwhile, flight MH740 remains unchanged and will depart Kuala Lumpur daily at 10.05am and arrive at Yangon at 11.15am while the return service via MH741 will depart Yangon daily at 12.15pm and arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 4.30pm.
For the additional new frequency to Auckland, starting 24 November 2013, MH131 will depart every Sunday in addition to Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from Kuala Lumpur at 9.50pm and arrive Auckland the following day at 1.05pm. The return additional daytime service MH130 will depart every Monday from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur in addition to Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 2.30pm and arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 8.20pm. 
Existing flight MH133 departs Kuala Lumpur every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 8.50am and arrives in Auckland at 12.05 midnight the following day and MH132, the night service departs every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 1.35am and arrives in Kuala Lumpur at 7.25am. 
Another positive update is the codeshare with Xiamen Airlines which will be operated for two routes, namely the Xiamen route which will be operated by Malaysia Airlines and Xiamen Airlines and the Fuzhou route which will be operated solely by Xiamen Airlines.

HomeAway Expands Asia Pacific Presence with travelmob

HomeAway, Inc., the world's leading online marketplace for vacation rentals, has signed an agreement to acquire majority control of travelmob™, an online start-up for vacation rental properties in Asia Pacific. 
The all-cash transaction is expected to close in a few weeks and following the closing, the travelmob management team will retain a 37 percent share of the business and continue to operate as an independent brand from its Singapore headquarters. For the remainder of fiscal 2013, HomeAway® expects to incur about $2.0 million in additional expense to further grow the travelmob business. While the price and terms of the deal have not been disclosed, HomeAway will discuss this acquisition during its second quarter 2013 earnings conference call on Thursday, July 25. 
HomeAway has a previous relationship with travelmob through a distribution partnership announced in March of this year. Built on a transaction-based model, travelmob features over 14,000 Asia Pacific short-term rental listings including luxury villas, urban apartments, houseboats, a private island and even some shared spaces. Co-founded in 2012 by Chief Executive Officer Turochas Fuad and Chief Technology Officer Prashant Kirtane, the site and its 16-person-team supports 13 currencies and operates in Bahasa, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese and English. Early investors of the start-up include Jungle Ventures, Accel Partners and private investors, including Dan Neary, vice president of Asia Pacific at Facebook.
"Economists note over 100 million people will enter the Asian middle class each of the next several years, and Asia will have an increasing influence over the world's economic growth. We believe this will have significant implications for not only travel but also for the purchase of homes, both of which drive HomeAway's growth," says Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway. "We view Asia as a region where we can build tremendous incremental value for our shareholders and existing customers over the next several years. Given this opportunity, we're excited to work with the experienced travelmob team to address today's market needs in Asia -- where vacation rentals are mostly new, but alternative accommodations are not -- to build scale and accelerate the development of the vacation rental industry."
"We are excited to join HomeAway as the vacation rental industry develops in Asia. We see an increasing trend of Asian travelers expressing a preference for authentic experiences and the quality and value afforded by our range of properties," says Fuad. "Our focus at travelmob is to enable travelers to experience Asia like a local, staying at the cool places throughout this vast region. In our first year alone, our inventory has grown to more than 14,000 properties to support this growing demand." 
Since April 2011, HomeAway has steadily invested in its Asia Pacific presence beginning with the purchase of the holiday rental business from REA Group Limited and the subsequent launch of HomeAway.com.au. Last year, HomeAway made a minority investment in China-based vacation rental company, Tujia.com, in partnership with Ctrip.com International (NASDAQ: CTRP), the leading online travel service provider in China. The company also has distribution partnerships with Wego.com and Tripvillas.com. Most recently, HomeAway opened a sales office in Bangkok, Thailand in April of this year to serve the growing inventory of private villas offered to the public as vacation rentals.

New Holiday Inn Express® Hotel Breaks Ground in Xalapa

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Selfi Grupo Operador de Estacionamientos, S.A. de C.V., recently celebrated the ground break on April 22nd of the Holiday Inn Express® Hotel Xalapa. 
Slated to open summer 2014, the construction of this hotel is expected to generate at least 150 direct and 300 indirect jobs. 
This addition further strengthens the IHG portfolio presence in Veracruz, which currently includes seven hotels comprising two Crowne Plaza® hotels, three Holiday Inn® hotels, one Holiday Inn Express hotel, and a Hotel Indigo® hotel. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel Xalapa will be in the heart of the city on Zaragoza 8, Col. Centro. The five-story, 114-room hotel is being developed by GILCA, with an investment of over $6 million. The 13-story building will have multiple levels of underground parking, two stories devoted to business use and a multi-purpose hall capable of seating up to 400 people. 
The Holiday Inn Express Hotel Xalapa will be designed in line with the Holiday Inn brand family’s $1 billion global brand relaunch, the largest project of its kind in hospitality history. The relaunch continues to drive increased quality and consistency across the global portfolio. The new hotel will feature a contemporary image with emphasis on arrival and welcome services, guestroom and guest bath comfort and a redesigned logo and signage. 
Guests will experience a comfortable and smart environment with innovative preferred guest upgrades to ensure a pleasurable experience. The complimentary Express Start® breakfast bar will feature a full range of breakfast items, including a rotation of egg and meat selections, biscuits, yogurt, fruit, pancakes, the brand's proprietary cinnamon roll, and Smart Roast® coffee. The SimplySmart™ shower will incorporate a proprietary Stay Smart™ Kohler showerhead, signature shower curtain with curved rod. Upgraded 100 percent cotton terry towels and Bath & Body Works White Citrus bath products are also included. Guests will enjoy the SimplySmart™ bedding collection, where they will find crisp fresh bedding that features an attractive decorative throw, a medium-weight duvet blanket and soft, 200 thread-count sheets. 
The Holiday Inn Express Hotel Xalapa, owned and managed by Selfi, Grupo Operador de Estacionamientos, S.A. de C.V., is franchised by an affiliate of IHG. Holiday Inn Express hotels participate in IHG’s hotel rewards program, IHG® Rewards Club. The industry’s fast-growing guest loyalty program with 73 million members is free and guests can enroll by logging on at IHGRewardsClub.com, by calling 01-800-000-0404 or by inquiring at any of IHG’s more than 4,600 hotels worldwide.

Top Cruise Lines by Customer Satisfaction

While overall customer satisfaction with cruise lines is high, nearly one in five customers experience a problem while on their cruise. Here are the best cruise lines of 2013!

The
 J.D. Power 2013 Cruise Line Satisfaction Reportranked 2013’s top cruise lines by customer satisfaction based on seven key factors (in order of importance): service; stateroom; food; embark/debark; entertainment; cost; and excursions.

Disney Cruise Line ranks highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 871 (on a 1,000-point scale), significantly higher than the report average of 824, and performs particularly well in the entertainment and food factors. Royal Caribbean International ranks second with a score of 838, and performs particularly well in service. Holland America Line ranks third at 835, also performing particularly well in service.

Cruise lines ranked by satisfaction:

1.     Disney Cruise Line, 871

2.     Royal Caribbean International, 838

3.     Holland America Line, 835

4.     Celebrity Cruises, 828

5.     Princess Cruises, 826

6.     Norwegian Cruise Line, 818

7.     Carnival Cruise Line, 810

holland america line2While customer service, stateroom and food comprise more than 50 percent of the contribution to overall satisfaction, the number of problems passengers experience during their cruise also has a significant impact on loyalty and advocacy. Overall, 18 percent of passengers across all cruise lines indicate they experienced at least one problem on their cruise. On average, cruise line passengers experience 1.8 problems.

Passengers experiencing zero or one problem (61% and 55%, respectively) say they "definitely will" take another cruise with the cruise line they most recently used. When two to three problems are experienced, the likelihood of customers taking another cruise with the same cruise line drops dramatically (33% and 28%, respectively). Among the brands above the industry average, 68 percent of passengers indicate they "definitely will" recommend their cruise line to others, surpassing the report average of 61 percent. A high level of satisfaction translates into customer loyalty and advocacy.

The primary reason for choosing a particular cruise line is price (53%). However, among customers who say they "definitely will not" or "probably will not" return for another cruise, cost is the driving factor, with their overall satisfaction score at 614 points. The average price paid for one person is $1,628. When the number of people in the traveling party increases to two or four, prices average $2,330 for the group. Among customers who say they "definitely will" return, service is the key reason for their decision.

Most consumers become aware of their cruise line brand through one of several means: the cruise line's website (28%); they are loyal customers who have traveled with the cruise line previously (24%); or they discover the brand from friends and family (17%). Additionally, television plays a role in creating awareness about cruise lines, with 2.8 percent of customers saying that TV ads were the reason they selected a cruise line brand.




Seychelles to organize 'Christmas with the Stars' evening

The Seychelles Ministry responsible for Tourism and Culture and their National Arts Council met with representatives of the island's musicians, choirs, musical bands and known musical personalities. 
The meeting held at their offices at the National Cultural Centre in Victoria to discuss the launch of the end of year festivities set for the 7th December, which everyone hoped should also be the date when the decorative lights though Victoria will be switched on.
The meeting was chaired by Minister Alain St.Ange, the island's Minister responsible for Tourism and Cultural himself, and he was being accompanied by Ms Benjamine Rose, the PS for Culture, Mr Jimmy Savy the CEO of the National Art Council (NAC) and Mr Rassin from the Mayor of Victoria's Office.
seychelles-yearend-meeting

Minister St.Ange said the the Ministry of Tourism and Culture was working with the Office of the Mayor, the community of artists and choirs to mark the 2013 end of year festivities with an evening with a difference. "We need to work with the community of artists, and we need to work with our country's choirs to make this 2013 end of year festivities one that will set the stage for the years to come. Christmas and the end of year celebrations remain dear to us as a people and as a country, and we owe to ourselves and to our country to provide a launch of these celebrations where families, where young couples, where the elderly can all come together for a musical spectacle with christmas songs, carols and end of year songs by our professionals accompanied by budding artists. We all know when the community of artists decide to come together what magical an evening they can stage for Seychelles" Minister Alain St.Ange said.

"At this second meeting the representatives of the island's musicians, choirs, musical bands and other known musical personalities all agreed that the time is right for everyone to come together to give Seychelles a family evening out with entertainment, fun and end of year christmas and the arrival of the new year songs we have all loved and cherished throughout our lives" Minister St.Ange said.

Mr Jimmy Savy of the NAC discussed the setting up of the the show management as Mr Patrick Victor, the representative of the Musicians Associations echoed his commitment for the 'Christmas with the Stars' evening and the representatives of some choirs agreed to all come together for a spectacular night also with carols.

The organisers promised some real surprises for that evening where Victoria will see a display with musicians arriving on stage by means never seen before by the general public.


Greeks to work on Sundays, tourists spending to be boosted

Greece's parliament has approved legislation to extend Sunday opening hours for stores, in an effort to boost spending by tourists and stimulate the crisis-hit economy. Lawmakers voted Wednesday in favor of legislation allowing department stores to open on seven Sundays during the year and smaller, independent shops the right to open every Sunday. Earlier rules kept most stores closed.
Small business associations, left-wing opposition parties, and senior members of the Greek Orthodox Church strongly oppose the new measures. Store owners and the Greek Communist party staged demonstrations in central Athens late Tuesday.
Greece is expecting a boost to its key tourism industry this year. More than a million visitors arrived in the January-March period, a 4.6 percent increase from 2012, according to the Bank of Greece. More details about tourism statistics of Greece.
Source: AP

New Mobile App Pinpoints Electric Vehicle Stations Throughout Hawaii

The State of Hawaii has launched a new mobile application (app) designed to help drivers locate publically available electric vehicle (EV) charging stations statewide. 
The free “EV Stations Hawaii” app is available for Apple and Android smartphones and mobile devices.

The EV Stations Hawaii app is a great example of our state using new technology to advance the widespread use of electric vehicles in Hawaii,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “Convenience is key to further the adoption of EVs, which are part of Hawaii’s clean transportation future and move us toward reducing our dependency on imported oil.”
The app provides drivers with EV charging station locations and mapping directions for all four counties. Users can use the app to search for EV stations across Hawaii or for EV stations closest to their current location.

The adoption of electric vehicles is a key component in the state’s aggressive pursuit of 70 percent clean energy by the year 2030,” explained State Energy Administrator Mark Glick. “We hope the user-friendly app will help to deflate any range anxiety EV drivers may have by conveniently providing them with public charging station locations on-the-go.”

Malaysia Airlines offers More Than 13,000 Extra Seats for Hari Raya 2013

Malaysia Airlines will be operating 80 extra and 36 upgraded flights between Kuala Lumpur and cities within Malaysia and South East Asia to meet the increasing air travel demand during the forthcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri. 
These flights, offering an additional total capacity of 17,310 seats, will be operated from 3rd to 18th August 2013 and are available for booking from today onwards. 
Among the key Malaysian cities to enjoy the extra flights will be Kota Bahru and Sibu with a total of 3,168 and 1,660 seats respectively. 
A further additional capacity of 1404 seats is available through the upgrade of existing flights between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu. Flights to five sectors departing from Kuala Lumpur namely, Bali, Kunming, Taipei, Kota Kinabalu and Kuantan will be flying with upgraded aircraft.


Abu Dhabi International Airport sees increase in traffic in first half of 2013

Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) released its traffic performance results for the first half of 2013 revealing strong double digit growth of 12.6% in passenger traffic between January and June 2013, compared to the same period last year.
During the first six months, the airport welcomed 7.9 million (7,941,922) passengers and 65,072 flights representing a 10.4% increase in aircraft movement compared to the same period last year. Cargo traffic also increased in the first half of 2013, with 325,737 tonnes passing through the airport, a 21.5% increase compared to the first 6 months of 2012.
Eng. Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer at ADAC, commented: “The continuous significant growth that Abu Dhabi International Airport has been recording is directly impacted by the aggressive expansion plans of the hub carrier, Etihad Airways, and the increase in the number of partnerships with international carriers. This is a reflection of Abu Dhabi’s appeal not just as a leisure and business destination but also as an aviation hub. We look forward to further growth and will continue to invest in Abu Dhabi International Airport over the coming years to ensure world-class service and optimal efficiency for all our passengers and partners.”
Bangkok, London Heathrow, Doha, Jeddah and Manila were the top five destinations that registered the highest passenger traffic during the first half of this year from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
India recorded the highest traffic for the first six months of 2013, with traffic growing by 18% over the same period last year, followed by Saudi Arabia, Germany, Thailand and UK.

Ascend Collection Surpasses 100th Hotel

Gaia hotel
Ascend Hotel Collection® from Choice Hotels International, Inc. announced five additional hotels in May and June 2013, propelling the group past its landmark 100th hotel. 
These latest additions increase the portfolio’s roster to 105 independent hotels worldwide and further its position as a leader in the growing trend toward affiliation for independent hotels.
Since its debut in 2008, Ascend Hotel Collection has quintupled in size, adding hotels on three continents and five countries. The portfolio has added 35 hotels since the beginning of this year alone. The newest members are: Port Inn Kennebunk, Kennebunk, Me.; Carnegie Inn and Spa, State College, Pa.; Hotel Florence, Florence, S.C. ; Hotel Med Park, Sacramento, Calif.; and Gaia Hotel, Anderson, Calif.
Hotel Florence, Florence
, S.C. – This historic hotel and restaurant/bar reopened in May 2013, following a multi-million-dollar renovation. Located in the heart of the historic downtown, the new property serves as a hub of the city’s revitalization efforts. Hotel Florence’s chic new design pays homage to the lodging’s historic roots with exposed brick walls, original hardwood floors and two 19th century writing tables in the lobby that serve as the front desk.
All of the 49 guestrooms are outfitted with pillow-top mattresses and luxurious bedding, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen televisions. Many rooms feature large windows with splendid city views. For on-property dining, Victor’s Bistro is a full-service, upscale restaurant and bar consistently voted in the local press among the city’s finest. The hotel is within easy walking distance of lively shops, galleries, restaurants, museums, businesses, Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center and the Florence City-County Complex.
Carnegie Inn and Spa
, State College, Pa. – Overlooking the 17th green of the Toftrees Golf Course, Carnegie Inn and Spa is Central Pennsylvania’s first AAA Four-Diamond hotel. The 21-room lodging is home to the full-service Carnegie Inn Restaurant, Carnegie Library Lounge and the ESSpa Kozmetika Spa, which specializes in organic facials, massages, body wraps and more. With its award-winning 1,600-hundred-bottle wine cellar, Carnegie Inn Restaurant consistently ranks as the area’s best fine dining experience by State College Magazine.
Guestrooms are plush with antique furnishings, luxury bed linens, deep soaking tubs and large windows serving up picturesque golf course views. Mornings at the inn start with a complimentary made-to-order hot breakfast. Carnegie Inn and Spa is minutes from University Park Airport, Penn State University, Beaver Stadium and the Bryce Jordan Center arena for concerts and sporting events.

Port Inn Kennebunk, Kennebunk, Me
. – This 46-room property is located off Interstate 95 close to Kennebunk beaches and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife refuge. Also nearby: restaurants, boutiques and galleries of Dock Square in Kennebunkport and Funtown Splashtown USA amusement park. Guestrooms feature plush bedding with down pillows, flat-screen televisions and free Wi-Fi, with a sleeper sofa and kitchen facilities available in select rooms. Guests enjoy complimentary continental breakfast and a seasonal outdoor heated pool. The trolley, running seasonally, stops right outside the hotel door, providing a fun way to get to the beach and see the sights of nearby Kennebunkport, Wells and Ogunquit.

Gaia Hotel, Anderson, Calif.
 Steps away from the Sacramento River in Northern California's Shasta and Cascades region, the Gaia Hotel offers easy access to lakes, caverns, ski parks, water parks, shopping, museums, botanical gardens and national parks. As the City of Anderson’s first LEED-certified hotel, the property stays true to its namesake, “Gaia,” derived from the Greek word for Mother Earth, with green practices and design touches throughout.
There are 120 spacious guestrooms and suites with recycled tile and granite bathrooms, Wi-Fi and picture windows framing serene views of hotel gardens, fountains and swan lagoons. Among the other amenities, guests enjoy a saline outdoor heated pool; fitness center; 6,000 square feet of meeting space and full-service restaurant, Woodside Grill, serving fresh local foods and wines from nearby vineyards. The hotel is also home to the Living Waters Spa, pampering guests with holistic therapies featuring Northern California’s indigenous flowers and herbs.
Hotel Med Park, Sacramento, Calif.
 Located in downtown Sacramento across the street from the UC Davis Medical Center, this contemporary boutique hotel is minutes from the Sacramento International Airport and major attractions, including the State Capital Building, Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento Zoo and the historic sights in Old Sacramento. Hotel Med Park houses 32 large guestrooms and suites, meeting facilities, and business and fitness centers. Guestrooms are well appointed with stylish dark-wood furnishings, microwaves and refrigerators. Some suites also come with spacious living rooms and balconies with scenic views of the northern California landscapes. Among the complimentary amenities, guests enjoy free breakfast, parking and Internet access throughout the hotel.

Park Hyatt Siem Reap opens

Hyatt Hotels Corporation opens the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Cambodia; Park Hyatt Siem Reap on Monday. 

Hotel De La Paix Siem Reap, one of the country’s top-rated hotels, was rebranded as Park Hyatt Siem Reap. After a one year complete renovation, the hotel is opening doors to welcome guests with authentic Cambodian hospitality.

Park Hyatt Siem Reap, a luxurious five-star hotel, is situated near the renowned 12th century ruins of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site that researchers believe was one of the largest pre-industrial cities in the world. The temples in the area number more than 1,000 and include Angkor Wat, the world’s largest single religious monument. The hotel is also a short distance from Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport, Cambodia’s second largest airport, which provides non-stop services to several major regional markets including Bangkok, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Singapore and Vientiane.



Undoubtedly an elegant hide-away, Park Hyatt Siem Reap introduces 108 stylish guestrooms and suites. The suites are highly recommended for the most distinguished travellers. An exclusive haven with private garden and/or swimming pool, any of the Park Hyatt Siem Reap’s suites provide an exquisite retreat.

This blend of refined interiors and graceful garden settings suffuses Park Hyatt Siem Reap with an enlivening resort and residential feel. The sequence of having restaurants and event spaces easily flow towards the Courtyard with its ancient Banyan Tree, lends it a refreshing residential feel. Cuisine of French and Indochine inspiration is a feature of the main restaurant, The Dining Room. In addition, the bar lounge, Living Room and the deli-patisserie, Glass House, feature comfort fare. “Carefully sourced, thoughtfully served’ is the underlying philosophy behind each and every culinary journey Park Hyatt Siem Reap delivers.

The hotel is now accepting reservations for August 1, 2013 and beyond.

Baby Friendly Travel Campaigns in Britain

As news of the birth of His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was announced at Buckingham Palace, Britain kicks off several baby friendly travel campaigns. 

Visit Britain is using the birth of Prince George to promote Britain as a family-friendly destination. A poster showing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge holding their new baby on the steps of St Mary’s Hospital carries the line: “Many congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby boy.” The poster, entitled "Welcome to Great Britain", will be used to target 21 countries including parts of Europe, the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, China, Japan and Russia.

On the other hand, Visit Britain announcing baby-friendly hotels and promote their baby and toddler-friendly services. At The Rubens at the Palace, opposite Buckingham Palace in London, Directors provide welcome packs of games and a children’s check in and tour of the hotel which ends with a cupcake-decoration session with chef in the kitchen.

The Luxury Family Hotels consortium’s hotel collection – which has 8 properties across England – offers baby-listening services so that mum and dad can have a date night, knowing their babies are being looked after. Most of the hotels also offer a crèche, specially tailored menus for children (the Bedruthan Steps in Cornwall even offers a ‘dirt and worm pie’ – but a delicious one!) and luxurious spas for the adults to relax in while kids are being entertained.

Bovey Castle in Devon, in south west England, is the only hotel in the world to bring LEGO toys to the bedroom door. Open your LEGO menu on arrival, make your selection and it’ll be delivered in no time.

In the heart of London’s Marylebone district – close to Hyde Park, Oxford Street and Bond Street – the luxury Marylebone hotel offers a children’s welcome pack, their own dedicated menus, children’s concierge service, children’s magazines, milk and cookies and, if you’re travelling with older children too, the use of Wii and the PlayStation.

Less than an hour’s drive from Birmingham, England’s second largest city, families staying at the Stourport Manor Hotel can take advantage of its ‘Menzies Important Kids’ service. Menzies Stourport Manor, set in 23 acres of grounds, offers a dedicated check-in area for children, and every child receives a wrist band that permits them to have complimentary ice cream and unlimited juice and water. The hotel staff will also advise on local attractions suitable for children all ages.


More tourists visited Turkey in H1 2013

The number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey increased 14.35% in the first half of 2013. 

Foreign tourists visiting Turkey increased both in June and January-June period according to figures of TurkStat, Turkey's statistical authority. The number of people visiting Turkey reached 4,074,026, increasing 4.93% in June, 2013 compared to June, 2012. Daytrip tourists constituted 221,426 of the total figure. 

The highest number of tourists came from Russia with 690,308 which was followed by Germany with 498,249, Britain with 350,352. Georgia, Bulgaria, Syria, Iran, the Netherlands, France and US are among top ten countries sending tourists to Turkey. 

Tourists arrived in Turkey mostly via southern Antalya province in June with 1,609,005. Istanbul ranked second with 959,284 and Marmaris town of western Mugla province ranked the third with 503,429.

Robust Air Passenger Growth in June 

Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released June passenger demand figures showing year-on-year growth of 6.0%. The robust growth, measured in revenue passenger kilometers (RPK), is ahead of the 4.8% demand growth reported over the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. It is also ahead of the 5.6% expansion in capacity for June over the previous year. This pushed the passenger load factor to 81.7%.
While the strong growth trend was reflected in all regions it should be noted that Asia-Pacific airlines were responsible for half of the increase in RPKs from May to June. Due to the volatility of Asia-Pacific performance it is too early to say if this acceleration marks a trend for the rest of the year. 
European airlines were another highlight of the month. They reported a second consecutive month of solid growth (4.8) reflecting an easing in recessionary conditions in the Eurozone and an improvement in business and consumer confidence. And emerging markets were once again the strongest performers, particularly Africa (10.8%) and the Middle East (11.0%).
"June was a positive month for passenger markets. The stability in the Eurozone, albeit tentative, is giving a boost to business and consumer confidence. And the load factor at 81.7% shows that airlines are efficiently meeting increasing demand for travel.  But there are some headwinds. Growth in the BRICS economies, including China, is slowing. And oil prices remain high. The industry is still on track to make $4.00 per passenger this year for a global net profit of $12.7 billion. But there is little margin for error and even a small change in the second half of the year could shift the outlook significantly," said Tony Tyler, IATA's Director General and CEO.
June 2013 vs. June 2012 RPK Growth ASK Growth PLF
International 5.9% 5.7% 81.4
Domestic 6.1% 5.2% 82.0
Total Market 6.0% 5.6% 81.7

YTD 2013 vs. YTD  2012 RPK Growth ASK Growth PLF
International 4.8% 4.0% 78.5
Domestic 4.6% 3.7% 79.7
Total Market 4.8% 3.9% 79.0
International Markets Analysis in Detail
International air travel expanded strongly, up by 5.9% in June compared to a year ago. June capacity grew in line with this (5.7%) resulting in a June international load factor of 81.4%.
European carriers recorded 4.7% growth over the previous June. Capacity increased by 3.4% pushing load factors to 83.2%.
Asia-Pacific carriers grew by 5.5% on international routes, slightly behind the 6.7% growth in capacity. The load factor stood at 79.0%, the lowest among the major regions. Slower than expected economic growth in China during the first half of 2013 coupled with a decline in both trade and export orders are negatively impacting travel across the region. Nonetheless, Asia Pacific carriers did account for nearly half of the May to June growth in RPKs.
North American airlines grew 3.4% in June year-on-year, ahead of the 3.0% growth in capacity. As a result of continued tight capacity management, the region recorded the highest load factor (87.4%). The June performance was a break from the basically sideways growth of just 1.9% over the first half of the year. It is unlikely that June will mark the start of a step change in the growth trend.
Middle East carriers expanded 12.1% compared to a year ago. This was slightly below the 13.4% capacity expansion resulting in a load factor of 78.4%. The demand for new routes to emerging markets in Africa and Asia has fuelled the growth of the Gulf hubs.
Latin American airlines recorded growth of 8.7% in June, ahead of the 7.7% capacity growth. The region's load factor stood at 79.2%. The June performance was boosted by strong business-related demand, as the region posted the strongest trade growth of any region in the second quarter.
African airlines benefitted from strong domestic economic growth in key markets such as Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to post growth of 11.2%. Although African airlines' load factors (70.7%) still lag the global average by around ten percentage points, they have made consistent progress to close the gap this year, and in June, improved their load factor by almost three percentage points compared to June 2012.
Selected Domestic Passenger Markets
Total domestic air travel performed strongly in June, with growth of 6.1% compared to June 2012, and growth in all major markets. Domestic capacity expanded by 5.2% leading to a load factor of 82.0%.
The United States saw domestic growth of 2.4% in June. This weak growth reflects a combination of capacity management, a mature market, and the slowdown in the US economy in Q2. North American carriers posted the highest domestic load factor at 87.1%.
The Chinese domestic market grew 14.6% in June and the load factor stood at 81.5%. This robust performance came despite a reported slowdown in the Chinese economy in recent months. Declining manufacturing employment may put pressure on demand in the months to come.
Brazilian domestic travel was up 3.2% compared to June 2012. This is positive news in a market that is struggling with a 0.6% contraction over the first half of the year and the likelihood of continued economic weakness. Load factors have been a bright spot however, reaching 77.4% in June as airlines tightly control capacity.
The Indian domestic market grew 7.7% in June year-on-year, well ahead of a capacity expansion of 2.6%.  Load factors reached 81.5%. Reductions in domestic fares may be leading to increased demand, but it is difficult to discern the true strength of the Indian market due to the volatility of month-to-month traffic. 
Russia posted the second-strongest domestic growth rate in June, up 9.8% on a year ago. The outlook for the rest of the year looks positive as the Russian economy looks poised to pick up.
Japan's domestic market showed a solid rise of 6.9%, reflecting strong momentum in the country's economy. A milestone was passed, as Japan's air travel market recovered to pre-tsunami levels. Load factors of 59.5% however, indicate the continuing challenges in the market.
The bottom line
"The half-year report for passenger markets is broadly positive. There is plenty of evidence to support some cautious optimism. Airlines are expecting continued growth in demand, but there is little immediate hope for an improvement in yields. In the short term, cost control remains high on every airline's agenda. And the longer-term challenge is to expand value streams to generate sustainable levels of profitability," said Tyler.
The July IATA Airline Business Confidence index reported that 61.5% of respondents expect an improvement in demand. But only half (30.8%) expect any improvement in yields over the next 12 months.